Posted by: Daryl & Wendy Ashby | March 24, 2010


What makes a good negotiator may depend on whether you are a male or a female. Harvard University completed a study in 2008 which looked at the separation in gender when it comes to negotiating and the differences turned out to be quite significant:

Firstly, the results of the study showed the following similarities between men and women:

  • Integrating, the ability to meet the needs of both parties;
  • Compromising as a strategy, except women showed a “high level of agreement that every issue has room for negotiation”

The differences included:

  • women’s tendency to choose equal distributions when compromising which the researchers apparently ascribed to a women’s greater concern with fairness;
  • competitiveness – with men scoring 25% more competitive than their female counterparts
  • “smoothing,” with women engaging in that behavior 20% more of the time than men – smoothing being defined as “giving in to the other party while ignoring one’s own needs”
  • avoiding or withdrawing with women doing so 30% more than men
  • expressing feeling, with women apparently doing so “more” than men but no percentages are provided.

Interesting !  Does this mean that one is better than the other?  No !  It just demonstrates there are differences and depending upon what you are attempting to accomplish through the negotiation, a female may be beneficial over a male and in other cases visa versa.


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