Contrary to conventional wisdom that men drive a harder bargain in financial affairs, women are more effective than men when negotiating money matters in certain circumstances, a study indicates.
One reason men earn higher salaries than women could be women's apparent disadvantage vis-a-vis men in some types of negotiations.
“But we discovered that this disadvantage is not inevitable; rather, it very much depends on the context of the negotiation,” said lead study author Jens Mazei, doctoral candidate at Germany's University of Munster.
For the meta-analysis, researchers examined 51 studies from several countries, including India, the US, the Netherlands, Germany and China - with a total of 10,888 participants of whom 4,656 were women and 6,232 were men.
They found that negotiation results depended on the situation and the person involved.
“When women negotiated on behalf of another person, when they knew about the bargaining range in the negotiations and when they had experience in negotiating, they were better at negotiating than men,” Mazei said.
Women in negotiations might feel social pressure to adhere to the female role and display gender-consistent behaviour such as accommodation or cooperation.
“Our analysis suggests ways to lessen or even reverse gender differences in negotiations favouring men," said co-lead author Joachim Huffmeier from the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Dortmund, Germany.
It looks as though gender roles no longer give men a bargaining advantage if women are trained in negotiation, have information about the bargaining range and if they are negotiating for other individuals, he found.
“It remains to be seen if this effect would hold when negotiating for smaller social entities such as a team, workplace or family,” said the paper that appeared in the American Psychological Association's Psychological Bulletin.