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PSYCHOLOGY NEWS - Breaking Stereotypes: Why Women Excel at Financial Negotiation and Decision-Making

by Dr. Lynn Margolies



Focus on Women’s Strengths

Women can come out on top in business and making smart decisions

…Recent research involving 10,888 business people, graduate students, and undergraduates from several countries, including the U.S., found that women may be more effective than men in negotiating finances in certain situations. This finding debunks the stereotype that men are inherently better and tougher negotiators than women and the stereotype that men are better at negotiating money matters. Interestingly, women surpass men at the bargaining table only under certain circumstances, for instance, when they are negotiating on someone else’s behalf. This finding suggests that when women never make it to the bargaining table or when they are less effective than men, it is not because of lack of ability but, rather, because they become deskilled when it comes to advocating for themselves. Women may unknowingly be acting in line with female roles and stereotypes, leading them to be accommodating instead of competitive. Researchers found that women outperform men under circumstances when they have learned negotiating skills (are prepared) and when they understand the bargaining parameters (rules of the game). The lesson here is that women can educate themselves and learn to drive a competitive bargain. Women should be encouraged to practice and become confident at negotiating so they don’t underperform and continue to accept an unnecessary disadvantage as they have been according to a poll on salary.com. The data shows that 36% of men always negotiate their salary after a job offer, but that only 26% of women do. Consistently, 67 percent of women said that negotiating their salary made them nervous compared to 50 percent of men.

Stuhlmacher, A. F., Bilke, L., & Hertel, G. (2014, November 24). A Meta-Analysis on Gender Differences in Negotiation Outcomes and Their Moderators. Psychological Bulletin; DOI: 10.1037/a0038184

…Women and men are equally competent at making decisions under normal circumstances but under stress, women do better than men. Men took more risks and focused on big wins even when the wins were more costly. Women, on the other hand, became better decision makers when under stress making prudent, more conservative choices that led to more certain successes. Further, men - unlike women - were unable to recognize when their choices were poor. Also contributing to women’s better decision making under stress is that, under stress, women were more able to take the other person’s perspective whereas men became more egocentric. Consistent with these findings, a study examining global corporations determined that large companies with at least one woman on their boards were more successful by 26% than similar companies with all male boards.

Huston, T. (2014, October 19). Are Women Better Decision Makers? The New York Times, p. SR9.

What kind of spouse helps people get ahead in their careers and be happier in their relationships?

…A recent study found that, for both men and women, having a conscientious spouse (regardless of whether they work inside or outside the home) is associated not only with greater marital satisfaction, but also with greater professional success over time as measured by wages, job performance, and job satisfaction. These effects appeared to be attributable to increased support and help at home, reduced stress, and the inspiring effects of setting a good example. Conscientious spouses tended to be more supportive, organized, and dependable - so conscientiousness when associated with these qualities is what lead to the positive effects. (Warning: Conscientious spouses here should be differentiated from some “type A” personalities who - compulsively driven to achieve, self-focused, and emotionally detached - are experienced by their spouses as neglectful and unsupportive.)

May, C. (2015). For Couples, Success at Work is Affected by Partner’s Personality. Scientific American Mind. Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/for-couples-success-at-work-is-affected-by-partner-s-personality/

Relevant Articles:

Women's Issues

How to Overcome Obstacles to Change

Competition Among Women: Myth and Reality

How to Tell If Your Decisions are From Your Evolved or Primitive Brain


Selfishness in Couples: Narcissism, Lack of Interpersonal Skills, or Something Else?


To see other similar articles, click on the following links: Psychology News

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