Career Negotiation, Negotiation Case Studies, Negotiating in Life October 18, 2010

Do women have trouble with negotiation?

Selena Rezvani, who is the author of The Next Generation of Women Leaders: What You Need to Lead But Won’t Learn in Business School, was leading a workshop for women about negotiation skills. She took an informal survey of the room and asked how many women had negotiated/countered their last salary offer. Only about 10% had. Granted, this is not a scientific poll, but Rezvani says that:

“In fact women initiate negotiations four times less often than their male counterparts. Women also report "a great deal of apprehension" about negotiation--at a rate 2.5 times more than men, according to the research of Carnegie Mellon's Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever.”

The research, and Rezvani’s anecdotal evidence, seems to indicate that women do have trouble with negotiation. But is this true? And if so, why is it so? Perhaps it is because women tend to be consensus-builders and perhaps don’t adapt to the perception of negotiation as adversarial.

Rezvani shared her ideas in the post “Why do women hate negotiating” as part of the On Leadership series on The Washington Post.

Women that make it to the top also challenge long-standing beliefs in order to get themselves to the negotiating table. They push back on the "good girl"-isms with which they grew up. They didn't buy into: "Be seen and not heard," "Always be nice" or "Don't be too outspoken." On the contrary, to survive in a top role, they ask for what they want. They're firm. They don't accept what's unacceptable. (...)

It's a different negotiation mindset that can help us get over the hump. As someone that once pictured negotiation negatively (think bloody bullfight), I have come to pare it down to one excruciatingly simple act: a conversation that ends in agreement.

Dr. Chester L. Karrass would agree with this last idea—that negotiation should be viewed differently, and not as an adversarial I win-you lose situation:

“One intriguing question I have been asked is whether men are better negotiators than women. It’s a hard one to answer. All other things being equal the best negotiator will be the person who prepares well, has a good understanding of the issues at stake, is knowledgeable about the process of negotiation, including the strategies and tactic available to him or her, and is able to move the negotiation toward a both-win agreement.” (The Negotiating Game, p. 217)

You thoughts? Do women have trouble with negotiation?

THE PROGRAM WAS GREAT! MY SEMINAR LEADER AND THE STRUCTURE OF THE COURSE KEPT ME CONSTANTLY STIMULATED. I NOW AM BETTER PREPARED TO GO INTO AN IMPORTANT NEGOTIATION MEETING AND STAY IN CONTROL, WHILE FINISHING THE MEETING SATISFIED.

Deanna D.
CASE MANAGER at THE JACKSON LABORATORY

IF YOU HAVE THE TRAINING BUDGET AND TWO DAYS TO SPARE, YOU'LL STRUGGLE TO FIND A PROGRAM MORE FAR-REACHING, ON-POINT, AND INSTANTLY IMPLEMENTABLE.

Jeff G.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER at THE M.K. MORSE COMPANY

EXCELLENT COURSE, BRINGS MORE CONFIDENCE IN MY ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE. I THINK THIS COURSE IS A MUST FOR ALL EMPLOYEES WHO DEAL WITH CUSTOMERS.

John S.
CHIEF ENGINEERING MANAGER at EXXONMOBIL

THIS WAS VERY EFFECTIVE WITH A STRONG FOCUS ON BOTH-WIN NEGOTIATING.

Kathleen L.
SENIOR ANALYST at BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD OF MICHIGAN

THE KARRASS CLASS WAS THE SINGLE BEST TRAINING CLASS/SEMINAR I HAVE EVER ATTENDED. EVERY TIME WE DID AN EXERCISE IT TAUGHT YOU WHAT TO DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME. THANKS.

Kim C.
PROCUREMENT at AMERICAN EXPRESS

THIS PROGRAM HAS GREATLY INCREASED MY CONFIDENCE AND ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE FOR MYSELF AS WELL AS MY COMPANY.

LaDonna E.
SENIOR STRATEGIC BUYER at HALLMARK

THE NEGOTIATING CLASS WAS VERY INFORMATIVE. THE INSTRUCTOR PROVIDED AN INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE THAT CAN BE APPLIED TO EVERYDAY LIFE.

Mary S.
INTERNATIONAL SOURCING at FMC TECHNOLOGIES

WE NEGOTIATE EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES, BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY. THIS COURSE DEFINES THE PROCESS AND PROVIDES TECHNIQUES TO ACHIEVE SUCCESSFUL RESULTS.

Phillip H.
VICE PRESIDENT at GE

PRIOR TO THIS CLASS I FELT AS THOUGH I WAS GETTING EATEN ALIVE BY INTERNAL NEGOTIATIONS WITH SALES REPS. NOW I FEEL PREPARED TO CHALLENGE WHAT THEY ARE SAYING AND BET TO THEIR REAL NEEDS.

Steve Q.
PLANNER at HONEYWELL

MANY PEOPLE FAIL TO ACHIEVE THEIR POTENTIAL BECAUSE THEY DON’T SEE THE OPPORTUNITIES TO NEGOTIATE A WIN/WIN AGREEMENT WITH THEIR COLLEAGUES. THIS CLASS IS AN EYE OPENER TO THIS DYNAMIC..

Stuart B.
CONTRACTS MANAGER at HEWLETT-PACKARD
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