Is There A Difference Between How Men And Women Negotiate?

Does it really matter if there is a difference?
Does it really matter if there is a difference?
Image Credit: W. Visser

Let’s face it – not all negotiators are created the same. In fact, there are two very distinctly different types of negotiators out there: men and women. This, of course, brings up a very important question: do men and women negotiate differently. If they do, does this mean that we should be preparing to deal with them any differently? Getting answers to these questions could help us to reach a deal in our next negotiation.

How Men Negotiate

I think that most negotiators realize that in a negotiation men tend to claim more resources than women. Why is this? It turns out that both gender discrimination and men’s greater propensity to negotiate are two explanations that are backed up by research. In a study another reason was identified. It turns out that men are more willing than women to resort to deceptive tactics in negotiation.

So, what does research says about gender and deceptive tactics in negotiation? In their first experiment, the researchers asked 200 undergraduate students questions that were designed to assess their competitiveness, their levels of empathy, and their attitudes toward the use of unethical and deceptive tactics in negotiation. The results showed that the men who were surveyed were more likely to condone unethical tactics. This is a result that can be explained by their greater competitiveness. In the survey, the men and women who were surveyed were similarly empathic.

In a second experiment, 150 students at a U.S. university were asked to imagine that they were in a negotiation scenario where they had an opportunity to lie to earn even more money without the fear of being caught. The results showed that about 50% of the male participants said they would lie in such a situation, as compared to only about 30% of female participants.

Are Male Negotiators More Willing To Deceive?

In the studies that were done, men also ranked as more competitive and less empathic than women, differences that probably contributed to their greater willingness to deceive. Similar results were reached in an online experiment conducted on 300 adult U.S. residents. The results showed that about 44% of men and 37% of women lied when given the chance.

What All Of This Means For You

So, what conclusions can we draw from all of this? If they are taken together, the results suggest that men’s greater competitiveness and lower empathy relative to that of women probably plays a role in their greater willingness to use deceptive tactics during a negotiation.

However, because many of the female participants in the experiments also were willing to behave unethically, the researchers caution us that it’s more important to pay attention to the other side’s disposition – namely, how competitive and empathetic the other side seems – rather than to his or her sex when trying to predict whether he or she will behave unethically. The important information that we can draw from these studies is that to ward off unethical behavior from the other side, we need to model a collaborative approach and highlight opportunities for value creation during a negotiation.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: How do you think that you can tell if the other side in a negotiation is behaving unethically?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I for one would like to be able to say that I don’t make mistakes when negotiating. However, as we all know, that’s not the case. However, it turns out that when we do make mistakes, all too often we end up making the same mistakes. The good news is that if we can become aware of the mistakes that we are making, then we can start to take steps to overcome them. The end result of making this effort should be that we are able to reach better deals.