Women at the Bargaining Table: Pitfalls and Prospects

Catherine H. Tinsley
Georgetown University – Department of Management

Sandra I. Cheldelin
George Mason University – Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR)

Andrea Kupfer Schneider
Marquette University – Law School

Emily T. Amanatullah
Georgetown University Women’s Leadership Institute

May 1, 2009

Negotiation Journal, Vol. 25, p. 233, 2009
Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 09-19


Research evidence across a number of disciplines and fields has shown that women can encounter both social and financial backlash when they behave assertively, for example, by asking for resources at the bargaining table. But this backlash appears to be most evident when a gender stereotype that prescribes communal, nurturing behavior by women is activated. In situations in which this female stereotype is suppressed, backlash against assertive female behavior is attenuated. We review several contexts in which stereotypic expectations of females are more dormant or where assertive behavior by females can be seen as normative.

We conclude with prescriptions from this research that suggest how women might attenuate backlash at the bargaining table and with ideas about how to teach these issues of gender and backlash to student populations in order to make students, both male and female, more aware of their own inclination to backlash and how to rectify such inequities from both sides of the bargaining table.

Women at the Bargaining Table- Pitfalls and Prospects

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