Research has shown that females tend to fare worse when engaging in economic negotiations with males. A major theory suggests that this disadvantage comes from individuals conforming to their gender roles, which are based on social and cultural practices.
But could the communication channel women use have an impact on their negotiation outcomes? Bauer College researchers wanted to see whether choosing to have a phone conversation versus Instant Messaging would influence females’ success in price negotiations between strangers.
The results showed females are likely to be more successful in price negotiations when they use Instant Messaging rather than picking up the phone. The research team further found that that this success is especially true when females are sellers rather than buyers. The reverse was found for males, who benefit most from negotiations conducted through a phone conversation.
A major reason for the phenomenon is because, when using the phone, females realize that they are negotiating with males, thus increasing the females’ gender role imperative that they “be more communal [by] exhibiting more caring, cooperative, [and] supportive behavior,” the researchers reported. In contrast, it is unlikely females can identify the gender of their negotiation partner when using Instant Messaging. This makes the female gender role imperative much less relevant, thereby increasing females’ economic negotiating success.
Professor Norm Johnson, chairman of the Department of Decision & Information Sciences Department, DISC Professor Randolph Cooper, and a co-author evaluated negotiated concessions made by females under a variety of circumstances. They are currently examining the effects on concessions made by males under similar circumstances.
The Influences of Media, Power, and Male Communication on Concession Making by Females during Negotiations: Influence of Media on Concession Making, was published online in Decision Sciences in August.
By Julie Bonnin