Wednesday, October 14, 2009
From the archive: Women and negotiation
I attended a conference yesterday on women professionals. Some interesting stuff was presented. I particularly enjoyed Linda Babcock's talk on women and negotiation. Babcock has written extensively on this topic. The results she presented yesterday were from this paper:
Two experiments show that sex differences in the propensity to initiate negotiations may be explained by differential treatment of men and women when they attempt to negotiate. In Experiment 1, participants evaluated candidates who either accepted compensation offers without comment or attempted to negotiate higher compensation. Men only penalized female candidates for attempting to negotiate whereas women penalized both male and female candidates. Perceptions of niceness and demandingness mediated these effects. In Experiment 2, participants adopted candidates’ role in same scenario and assessed whether to accept the compensation offer or attempt to negotiate for more. Women were less likely than men to choose to negotiate when the evaluator was male, but not when the evaluator was female. This effect was mediated by women’s nervousness about negotiating with male evaluators. This work illuminates how differential treatment may influence the distribution of organizational resources through sex differences in the propensity to negotiate.
For more on this topic, you can see facts and discussion of her book "Women Don't Ask" (with Sara Laschever) at this website. A taste:
Women Don't Like to Negotiate
In surveys, 2.5 times more women than men said they feel "a great deal of apprehension" about negotiating.
Men initiate negotiations about four times as often as women.
When asked to pick metaphors for the process of negotiating, men picked "winning a ballgame" and a "wrestling match," while women picked "going to the dentist."
Women will pay as much as $1,353 to avoid negotiating the price of a car, which may help explain why 63 percent of Saturn car buyers are women.
20 percent of adult women (22 million people) say they never negotiate at all, even though they often recognize negotiation as
Women are more pessimistic about the how much is available when they do negotiate and so they typically ask for and get less when they do negotiate—on average, 30 percent less than men.
appropriate and even necessary.
We can guess as to why, but as you say Ben, it'd be almost purely speculative and probably not capture the whole truth.
My curiosity is about correlations dealing with women who are exceptions to this supposed rule.
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