Gender as a Situational Phenomenon in Negotiation

Hannah C. Riley

Harvard University – Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Linda Babcock

Carnegie Mellon University – H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management

September 2002

IACM 15th Annual Conference; and KSG Working Paper No. RWP02-037

Abstract:

We explore how situational factors moderate gender differences in negotiation. We conduct a baseline study with MBA students and 2 experiments with laboratory participants.

In Study 1, males (vs. females) report significantly higher performance targets and agreement payoffs within a structurally ambiguous negotiation.

Study 2 reveals a significant interaction between gender and structural ambiguity: gender differences (favoring males) in target prices, intended offers and agreement prices are significant under high ambiguity but diminish under low ambiguity.

Study 3 produces a significant interaction between gender and representation role (for self vs. other) on prenegotiation expectations: gender differences (favoring males) in target wages and intended offers are greater when negotiators represent themselves vs. others. We conclude with prescriptive implications of this research.

Gender as a Situational Phenomenon in Negotiation

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