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Gender and Negotiations – an Introduction

Autor:   •  March 8, 2011  •  Term Paper  •  3,552 Words (15 Pages)  •  2,709 Views

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Gender and negotiations – An introduction

Do men and women negotiate differently? Given the universal assumption that men and women are biologically and behaviourally different, the answer would be a simple "yes".

Reardon (2004) wrote that, "Men and women are different. They're raised differently, are different biologically, and often communicate differently. In negotiation, it's wise to try to bridge these differences." (p.204)

What are these differences? Let us explore them through societal stereotypes of men and women. According to Kray and Thompson (2005), "gender stereotypes dictate that men act assertively, independently, and rationally, whereas women act emotionally, with concern for others, and passively."(p.3)

Hence, the paper examines the gender differences and its impact it have on the negotiation process and outcome. Exploration of gender differences will be through researched theories and empirical data collected. Subsequently, this paper will explore whether and how the gender differences affect the negotiation process and outcome. Finally, the paper will suggest ways to narrow the gender gap to enhance the process and outcomes of the negotiation.

Gender differences and its impact on the negotiation

Men and women approach negotiations in 5 fundamentally different ways:

Relational vs. task oriented viewpoint

Women will tend to analyze the relationship between parties in a negotiation and thus look at it from a larger context as compared to only focusing on the issues on hand. Men will tend to be more goal-oriented and understand parties from a pragmatic value point of view, thus often neglecting the feelings of others. (Lewicki, Saunders, Minton, 1999)

An agency viewpoint

Closely related to relational vs. task oriented viewpoint is an embedded view of agency. Women tend to treat negotiation as arising out of a relationship naturally and thereby not recognizing that a negotiation is actually taking place. However, men will often draw boundaries between negotiation and other forms of behaviour so much so that they would often employ a common negotiation approach by beginning with a light discussion before proceeding on to the negotiation phase and ending off with another light discussion (Lewicki, Saunders, Minton, 1999).

Different employment of "Power"

Men and women perceive and use power differently. Men employ the use of power as an ability to persuade the other party in accepting their point of view or simply as a means to achieve their own goals. Women will try to seek empowerment through multiple interactions to build strong connections between parties to develop their power in a negotiation (Lewicki, Saunders, Minton, 1999).

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