Research: Simple Prompts Can Get Women to Negotiate More Like Men, and Vice Versa

Do we lie to get what we want out of negotiations?

That depends, according to forthcoming research I conducted with  Jason Pierce of the University of North Carolina, Greensborough. We found that the likelihood of engaging in unethical behavior during negotiation is related strongly to gender: men are more likely to act deceptively than women are.

The difference in bargaining behavior is linked to negotiators’ sense of competitiveness and empathy. In negotiations, men tend to embrace a competitive mode that motivates unethical behavior to get ahead, whereas women opt for an empathic approach, leading to less deceptive behavior.

But it turns out it is startlingly simple to “activate” the competitiveness and empathic motives.  And, when we activate these different motives, both women and men act more like the other gender in bargaining situations.

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