Negotiating on Behalf of Others: Are Women Better Agents?

By — on / Business Negotiations

Under certain conditions, women may work harder than men when negotiating on behalf of others, suggests a study by Harvard professors Hannah Riley Bowles and Kathleen McGinn, and Carnegie Mellon University professor Linda Babcock. In their experiment, female executives performed better than male executives when bargaining for the compensation of someone they had mentored. By contrast, women and men achieved similar results when negotiating on their own behalf.

Why the difference? It could be that the women felt more freedom to negotiate assertively, with less fear of being judged unfeminine, when advocating for another person. The findings suggest that women may be able to improve their own outcomes by linking their results to those of others.

Discover step-by-step techniques for avoiding common business negotiation pitfalls when you download a copy of the FREE special report, Business Negotiation Strategies: How to Negotiate Better Business Deals, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

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