Reversing the gender gap in negotiations: An exploration of stereotype regeneration
Two experiments examined the role of masculine and feminine traits in performance of women and men in negotiation situations. In Experiment 1, male-female dyads of MBA students were told that an upcoming negotiation exercise was highly diagnostic of negotiating ability. In addition, participants were told either that 1) excellent verbal skills, listening skills, and insight into other's feelings assist in negotiation (female stereotype benefit condition) or that 2) well-prepared, humorous, open-minded individuals do well in negotiations (control). Men expected to do better than women in the control condition, but women expected to do better in the condition in which stereotypical female traits were tied to negotiating success. Actual negotiation success mirrored these results as did post-negotiation measures of effectiveness. In Experiment 2, male-female negotiation dyads were told about traits that supposedly predicted poor performance in negotiation. Half of the participants were told that assertiveness, self-interest, rationality, and limited emotional expression predicted poor negotiating skills (male stereotypic disadvantage condition), and the other half were told that passivity, reliance on listening, reliance on intuition, and emotional display (female stereotypic disadvantage condition) were associated with poor negotiation skills. Women's performance was better in the male disadvantage condition and men's performance was better in the female disadvantage condition. These results show the malleability of stereotype threat effects by changing the group experiencing stereotype threat by modifying the attributes that are believed to produce success in a given domain.