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A matter of negotiation: men and women have different strengths

03.12.2014

Men often seem to negotiate more successfully than women. This has been shown in many studies - and in practice, the income differences between men and women suggest that women are less successful than men in salary negotiations. That doesn't always have to be the case, however. There are even situations in which this relationship can be reversed, as a recently published study shows.

Organizational psychologists from the University of Münster, together with colleagues from Lüneburg and the USA, recently published the results of a large-scale study in the renowned journal Psychological Bulletin. The researchers analyzed a total of 51 studies with over 10,000 participating men and women, in which economic negotiation results were examined.

Men score in standard situations
It emerged that men in negotiation situations actually achieved on average better economic results than women. However, this gender difference depends on the situation and person. A closer look reveals that negotiating men are particularly superior to women if the women are not very experienced in negotiating and if the scope for negotiation is unclear, e.g. if they have no knowledge of the lower and upper limits of their negotiating framework during a salary negotiation.

"Since negotiations often play a decisive role in the distribution of resources, gender differences in negotiations can actually contribute to the 'gender pay gap', that is, to differences in the salaries of men and women", says Jens Mazei, organizational psychologist from Münster and co-author the study. “However, men are not per se the better negotiating partners. On the contrary: under certain conditions women even had advantages over men in negotiations. "

Women show strength in social situations
Women achieve better results than men if they negotiate on behalf of another person and have additional negotiating experience and information about the scope for negotiation.
These results support widespread theories about social roles and the expectations of the role behavior of men and women described therein. Accordingly, women are expected to be accommodating, relational, and interested in the well-being of others. Men, on the other hand, should show behaviors such as competitive orientation and assertiveness. Successful negotiation behavior, such as showing assertiveness, is accordingly not in line with expectations of female role behavior. According to the theory, women who deviate from the role model and show these male behaviors in negotiations risk social reprisals. However, wherever women stand up for the interests of third parties, for example, and the negotiation situation is more in line with female role models, women negotiate successfully because their behavior is ascribed to their interpersonal values.

In a still unpublished study by the Erlangen-based colleagues Hausmann and Abele it was consequently shown that women negotiate just as well or even better than men if they are explicitly advised that they should not allow themselves to be impaired by classic role clichés, or that they then, if you feel you are too demanding, just imagine you are negotiating for someone else.

Contact person for the press:
Dr. Anne Klostermann
Public Relations Officer
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10117 Berlin
Tel .: 030 28047718
Email: pressstelle (at) dgps.de


You can find the original study here:
Mazei, J., Hüffmeier, J., Freund, P. A., Stuhlmacher, A. F., Bilke, L., & Hertel, G. (2014, November 24). A Meta-Analysis on Gender Differences in Negotiation Outcomes and Their Moderators. Psychological Bulletin. Advance online publication.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0038184

This research project was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) (Graduate College 1712/1 and HU 1772 / 2-1).

Additional Information:
Dipl.-Psych. Jens Mazei
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Organizational and business psychology
Fliednerstrasse 21
48149 Munster
Tel .: 0251 8339445
Email: jens.mazei (at) wwu.de

DGPs press release ___ 03-12-2014.pdf

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