November 17, 2011 Practice Points

The Effect of Gender & Status On Negotiations

By Amber Pershon

A recent Forbes article by Victoria Pynchon discusses the effect of gender on power negotiations. "Women's Negotiation 'Problem' May Be Power, Not Gender," The article notes that many women believe they must “negotiate nicely” and “be relentlessly pleasant,” or they may suffer a blowback.  However, the article then posits that this negotiation problem is caused by status rather than gender, which in turn is a historic remnant of gender discrimination.

Pynchon discusses The Handbook of Gender Research by Joan Chrisler and Donald McCreary, which states, “If women are, or are perceived to be, in a lower status position, then they are unlikely to assert themselves over an individual with a perceived high status, regardless of that person’s gender.” The author then questions whether the problem is actually one of viewpoint. Pynchon calls for a decision about which gender’s negotiation strategy and tactics are most effective, create the most value, and remain the most durable. She asserts that these are the tactics that should be utilized by both men and women. 

Keywords: women, negotiation, power

Amber Pershon works at Phoenix School of Law in Phoenix, Arizona.

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