Gender Differences in Negotiating

March 23rd, 2009 - Erin Johnston

As much as some of us would like to believe that gender does not matter, there is some evidence that gender can predispose a person to certain behavioral patterns.  In addition, preparing to participate in a mediation session can cause more anxiety for some who are less comfortable asking for what they want and negotiating with others.

Linda Babcock, PhD and Sara Laschever have written an interesting book on gender differences an negotiation: Women Don’t Ask:  Negotiation and the Gender Divide.

Their website has some interesting facts about gender differences:

  • When asked to pick metaphors for negotiations, men picked “winning a ball game” and a “wrestling match”, while women picked “going to the dentist”.
  • Women will pay as much as $1,353 to avoid negotiating the price of a car.
  • 20 percent of women (22 million people) say they never negotiate at all, even though they recognize negotiation as appropriate and even necessary.
  • In surveys, 2.5 times more women than men said they feel “a great deal of apprehension” about negotiating.

Regardless of gender,  CFR Mediation Services helps alleviate the difficulty in negotiation.  Mediation moves the negotiation process from a game that you are trying to win through any means possible – to a meeting where those in dispute rationally figure out how to resolve the issue in a manner that is the most positive end result for all parties involved.

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