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<xTITLE>Negotiation - It's Not About Gender - It's About Power</xTITLE>

Negotiation - It's Not About Gender - It's About Power

by Victoria Pynchon
August 2011

Settle It Now and ABC of Conflict Blog by Victoria Pynchon

Victoria Pynchon

I've got two posts over at ForbesWoman about negotiation advice routinely being given to women these days - that they ingratiate themselves with their bargaining partners lest they seem too "assertive" and unlikeable. Some scholars say blaming women for gender blow-back in the workplace is not only unfair, it's inaccurate. Power, they say, not gender, accounts for women hesitating to seek raises and promotions and for having their requests denied when they do.

Ingratiation, of course, is one of the primary contentious negotiation tactics to get someone to do something they don't want to do. Contentious negotiation tactics also include promises, threats, gamesmanship, shaming and physical violence.

If both men and women are trained to use interest-based negotiation strategies and tactics, the use of contentious tactics won't be as important as they are in the workplace today. I'm not saying that trust-building and other relational strategies are no longer necessary. I am saying, however, that authenticity is more important to positive negotiation outcomes than falsifying one's personality in an attempt to meet the expectations of people who are biased against people of different genders, races, religions, nationalities and the like.


Attorney-mediator Victoria Pynchon is a panelist with ADR Services, Inc. Ms. Pynchon was awarded her LL.M Degree in Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute in May of 2006, after 25 years of complex commercial litigation practice, with sub-specialties in intellectual property, securities fraud, antitrust, insurance coverage, consumer class actions and all types of business torts and contract disputes.  During her two years of full-time neutral practice, she has co-mediated both mandatory and voluntary settlement conferences with Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Alexander Williams, III and Victoria Chaney.  As a result of her work with Judge Chaney in the Complex Court at Central Civil West, Ms. Pynchon has gained significant experience mediating construction defect litigation.  Ms. Pynchon received her J.D., Order of the Coif, from the U.C. Davis School of Law. 

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