Leading through Negotiation: Harnessing the Power of Gender Stereotypes

by Laura Kray

Fall 2007

Volume 50
Issue 1

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With the controversy surrounding Larry Summers’s comments about innate differences between men and women as a backdrop, this article examines whether and when gender differences exist in the competitive negotiation arena. It reviews research that documents the impact of negotiators’ beliefs and motivations on performance, focusing on gender stereotypes and their message regarding women’s inability to perform on par with their male counterparts in business dealings. It documents the distinct performance impact of stereotypes that operate below the threshold of consciousness versus stereotypes that are out in the open; and it specifically explores gender stereotypes in the context of the broader issue of bargaining power. Such stereotypes affect both objective and subjective power at the bargaining table. After providing insights into the way that gender stereotypes operate, this article identifies strategies for mitigating their potentially harmful effects and instead using them to encourage performance gains.

California Management Review

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