Negotiation – It’s Not About Gender – It’s About Power

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.


Victoria Pynchon

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… MORE >

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