Gender And Negotiation Behavior

Although Fells (2010, p.13) states that there are no definitive links between gender and negotiation behavior, in fact, there are negotiation gaps fostering inequalities between men and women in the workplace and other social spheres that indicating the significance of gender in negotiation behavior.

This essay will investigate gender effects across different cognitive domains. Firstly, this essay will first focus on investigating the differences in emotion expression between men and women. Next, it will study gender differences in negotiation styles. Then the essay will examine how moral values contribute to gender effect. Next, it will indicate how the use of power can moderate gender effect. Lastly, by implementing role congruity explanation, to align all variables mentioned in this essay in order to understand the effect of gender on negotiation behavior.

To start with, this part of the essay will discuss how gender differences in emotional expression or in ability to interpret the cues of other might impact negotiation behaviors.
Empirical research suggests that even though women and men do not necessarily experience emotion differently, women have higher emotionally expressive level (Gillgan 1982). Women are observed to be more emotionally animated and are better at accurately conveying emotion to others; in addition, they are better at judging and decoding non-verbal emotional cues than men. Men, on the other hand, report masking emotion more often than women (Gillgan 1982). Hence, gender differences in emotional expressive level might be related to gender differences in attitudes towards their use of emotion as tactic during negotiation. Thus, due to the gender differences, the risk-reward profile of a negotiation might look totally different, implicated by negotiator's behaviors. For example, prospect theory suggests that individuals tend to seek risk in a perceived loss situation and to avoid risks in a perceived gain situation (Rudman 1998), the decision to engage in risky behavior in a given negotiation such as disclosure of information is likely a function of how the negotiation payoffs are mentally calculated, which may vary by gender as a result of the relative weight given to emotional-related factors versus other factors (Rudman 1998).

Therefore, when negotiation is occurring virtually (or not face-to-face but through email, telephone, messages), the role of gender is weaken because fewer cues are involved. Recipients of virtual communication are often unable to guess the gender of their partner of this information is not provided (Rudman 1998). Virtual negotiation enables to decrease chance of transmission of interpersonal and social cues during the negotiation process, thus reducing the saliency of gender role, increasing the saliency of negotiation role (Stuhlmacher et al., 2007). According to Stuhlmacher et al. (2007) meta-analysis, result showed that women would display more hostility during virtual negotiation than they did in face-to-face negotiation. However, men showed no differences of their level of hostility during the negotiation regardless of the communication medium used. Virtual negotiation seemed to benefit women more than face-to-face negotiation, as there were less gender effects and their negotiator role was more salient.

This essay will then move to study gender differences in negotiation style, such as cooperation-competitiveness (walters, Stuhlmacher & Meyer 1998).
Despite having what might be constructed as emotional 'advantages' that would be useful in interpersonal encounters; women often do not reap these benefits in the negotiation arena. In some types of distributive negotiations, such as salary negotiations, women lag behind women in their ability to claim value because women are less willing to negotiate (Gerhart & Rynes 1991, Blau & Kahn 2007). Walter, Stuhlmacher & Meyer (1998)'s and Kray & Thompson (2005)'s meta-analysis both showed individual's preference for competitive strategies can be attributed to gender. Showing that when women negotiate, they frequently adopt a more cooperating and accommodating negotiation style that is less likely to deliver the economic benefits than a more competitive negotiation style.
Overall researchers has found that men tend to negotiate slightly more competitively and more successfully than women and it can be explained by looking at the role of gender stereotypes and stereotype violations. According to gender stereotypes, men are expected to engage in agentic behaviors that are conducive to negotiating, such as being assertive and confident (Fiske et al., 2002). In contrast, women are not expected to be agentic, but rather to act communally, such as being selfless and emotional and focusing on the interpersonal aspects of social interactions, traits that are not necessarily conducive to salary negotiation (Fiske et al., 2002). These stereotypes set up the expectation that men should be more effective at negotiating than are women. Consisting with stereotypes threat theory, when both men and women participate in a negotiation task after being primed with gender stereotypes, men has higher negotiation confidence and negotiates more successfully than female counterparts (Kray, Thompson & Galinski 2001).
However, these gender differences were not found in a no-stereotypes control condition. These findings suggest that gender stereotypes do affect men's and women's negotiating behaviors. Furthermore, negotiating ability appears to be influenced by women's fear of backlash (negative social evaluation) for violating gender stereotypes (Amanatullah & Morris 2010). That is, when women were negotiating on behalf of their own salaries, they reported greater fear of a negative backlash against them than did women negotiating on behalf of others or than men negotiating on behalf of themselves or others. As a result, women tend to engage in more cooperation negotiation style that leads to more accommodating behaviors than men. Reflecting the fact that women's awareness of competitive negotiation styles may potentially damage their social outcomes, which in most cases is their concern for relationships. In addition, these observations have highlighted the importance of understanding individual's negotiation behaviors and also when and where they do it.

Thirdly, Moral values are another factor that contributes to gender differences in negotiation behavior. This perspective suggests that men and women differ in their values. Specifically, Gilligan (1982) argues that women are distinct from men in their preferences for resoling moral conflicts. She has distinguished two moral orientations: justice-based and care-based. The justice-based perspective refers to manage conflicts through the use of abstract principles and fundamental rights. In contrast, the care-based perspective focuses on maintaining relationships and preserving personal integrity when resolving moral disputes (Gilligan 1982). Empirical research supports the view that women are more likely to express higher level of ethic concern in understanding moral dilemmas than men are, whereas men prefer understanding moral dilemmas from a justice perspective than do women (Gollan & Witte 2008). Other researchers also offers support for the differing values that men and women place on certain personal attributes: whereas men place a premium on logic and fostering a comfortable life, women more highly value honesty, being loving, and maintaining self-respect than do man (Heilman 2001).

The main reason that moral values are relevant to negotiations is because they are likely to affect negotiators' preferences for equity. Equity theory (Adams 1965) is concerned with the role of interpersonal comparisons of input-outcome ratios in forming fairness judgments. Implicit in the idea that female negotiator places relationships as their primary consideration and along with an expectation of future interactions between parties. Expecting for future interactions increases their use of equality rule to dividing resources compared to when no future interactions are expected, which promotes the tendency to divide resources based on equity rule. That is, if women are more likely to expect future interactions than are men, then women should also have a greater preference for equally dividing the resources.

Applying the moral values perspective to negotiations illustrates the gender disparity in ways of resolving disputes. Gender might also influence how they perceived fair division of resources (Gollan & Witte 2008). Hence, when men are placing a higher premium on justice-based morality than do women, then in turns, men would prefer resolving disputes through a discussion of right versus wrong, result with a clear winner and a loser. In contrast, women's tendency to view morality through a care-based perspective might promote a desire to focus on higher order priorities such as the preservation of the relationship and attempts to address both parties' interests in resolving disputes. Due to the fact that care-based approaches tend to be more integrative, more satisfying, and less costly than justice-based approaches, women may be more effective compare to men when resolving negotiation disputes.

On the other hand, many researchers have been devoted to examining gender difference in leadership as it is similar to negotiating and bargaining in that it consists of influencing others. And the nearly universal consensus that has emerged from reviews of these studies is that, when women earn or are given the leader's role, they behave exactly the way make leaders behave (Powell 1999). The clue this provides to our understanding of the literature on gender differences in negotiation behavior is that the leader role typically confers power on the incumbent. Thus, one might argue that it is power rather than gender that determines how individuals behave. Similar sources of power are present in negotiation behavior encounters. Interestingly, the literature on disputing shows the differences in the behavior of high and low power negotiators that mirror the most commonly assumed gender differences in negotiator behavior and outcomes (Kabanoff 1991). That is, high-power negotiators tend to compete, whereas low-power negotiators tend to cooperate. Therefore, some researchers assume that the observed differences in the way men and women negotiate result from gender when, in fact, are result from status and power differences (Powell 1999, Kabanoff 1991). Yet power can be potentially better predictors of negotiation behavior than gender, the significant numbers of women in low-power and low status role in organizations and society is indicating the that gender is as important as power in most cases.

Also, there is the gender--power explanation, which is based on the possibility that giving an individual power may not eliminate the effects of gender status (Fagenson 1990), shows that gender do affect negotiation behaviors. According to Fagenson (1990), both the factor gender and the power explanations mentioned earlier are correct. Consequently, men who have a lot of power are expected to be extremely competitive and successful negotiators, whereas women who have little power and women who have lot of power are expected to be equivalent and intermediate in their competitiveness and success.

So far, this essay points to several variables of the strength and direction of the impact of gender during negotiation. These variables are consistent with the role congruity explanation. Gender differences will decrease as role congruence increases for women, that is, when the negotiation role is aligned with the female gender role (Kray & Thompson 2005). As mentioned above, power can considerably reduce the effects of gender status and influence how individuals use power. Relating to congruence of negotiation topic, women tend to frame the task as 'asking' rather than 'negotiating' to remain relationships with others, and prefer negotiation on behalf of others as a representative or advocate due to their tendency to hold an interpersonal orientation. In other cases, gender differences arise as role congruence is increased for men rather than women such as when the negotiation role requires more masculine characteristics. Based on Phillip (2008)'s stereotype threat research, it indicated that where men perform better in situations that label negotiation as requiring masculine characteristics, and when there is ambiguity in the task. In these ambiguous situations, a more competitive negotiation style with agentic behaviors of being dominant and assertive in pursuing one's own interest can be an advantage.

In conclusion, some may claim the continue overlook of role of gender in negotiation, contemporary researches have stood with many empirical evidences. All factors mentioned in this essay have shown their influences on gender differences and the saliency of gender roles. When gender is less salient, the negotiation role itself can become more salient than gender.
For men, since the consistent between traditional negotiation and the men gender role, men would not necessarily result in any negotiation behavior change. However, for women, when they are given more power, the effect of gender will decrease as the salient of negotiation role increased. Clearly even small gender effects, when aggregated over time, can have dramatic and detrimental effect. Again, in negotiations, these negative effects are most often reflected in women's poorer economic outcomes. And for female negotiators, reduced attention to their gender may allow a greater focus on the social roll of negotiators, with less attention on women's social roles.

Source: ChinaStones -

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