The Negotiator Magazine

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The study has several implications for managers, organizational theorists and others interested in the roles of negotiation, power and gender. There appeared to be no support for the idea that power and gender work to the benefit of men and to the detriment of women managers in negotiations, rather "women are as likely as men to enact appropriate behaviors when they are placed in managerial positions." One implication is that women managers are equally qualified to manage organizations, manage negotiations, and further organizational strategy.

The fact that women may occupy lower power managerial positions has confused the issues of power and gender. Given the finding that low power managers - regardless of gender - acted similarly, we have a possible explanation of the mistaken concept that women tend to be 'nice negotiators'. The managers who participated in the study demonstrated that "experienced managerial women were neither worse nor better negotiators, neither more cooperative or open to the other, and neither more or less persuasive or threatening than men." The statistical variability among women negotiators was as high as the variability for men, countering the formation of gender stereotypes.

Gender had no effect on how participants felt about their performance during the negotiations, how they felt about their opponents, or how they felt about their outcomes. It did however, seem to affect post-negotiation reporting. The central difference between the genders revolved around perceptions of themselves as negotiators and toward negotiation per se. In this regard, women felt less confident before and less satisfied after their negotiations despite similar reports of outcomes. The authors caution that women managers, to the extent they lack confidence in their abilities and dislike the experience, may in fact be "penalizing themselves by failing to negotiate with other managers to achieve their own legitimate ends," concluding that "[r]esearch is needed in organizations to determine whether managerial women are more likely than men to avoid negotiating."

Few of the participants actually agreed about how they had resolved the issues (many said the dispute was resolved in their own favor) and thus the study could only evaluate the effect of gender and power on outcome in terms of how each side perceived its own outcome. Nevertheless in 70% of the cases, high power male managers claimed that they gave up more to low power colleagues, especially when the low power colleague was a woman (40% of whom agreed with this assertion). In contrast, when paired with other men, high power male managers almost never claimed to have cooperated. Therefore, the hypothesis that men in powerful positions would completely dominate women of lower rank was not upheld, nor was the hypothesis that women in low power positions will obtain more win-lose outcomes in which they give up more than they get.

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