Across the world, there have been growing efforts to advance women and other minorities in organisations. Nevertheless, both research and anecdotal evidence suggest that women, compared to men, still negotiate less or ask for less when they do, which may then lead to lower salaries and other sup-optimal career outcomes.
Speaking to HRreview, Dr Sunny Lee explains how her research focusses on two reasons that can explain this difference. The first reason is related to a well-known backlash effect. When individuals behave differently from stereotypes based on their gender, race, age, or even physical characteristics, they are negatively evaluated and sometimes socially punished. Thus, women who are stereotyped to be communal may be very reluctant to initiate negotiations for a fear of rejection and negative feedback.
Secondly, social pressures affect women and minority groups from negotiating in the workplace, individuals’ self-beliefs can also constrain their attitudes and behaviours. Women, due to their peer culture highlighting communal and egalitarian relationships, may feel uncomfortable in negotiations. Additionally, individuals socialised in a collective culture may feel guilty negotiating with their colleagues or employers. Feelings of discomfort and guilt can lead to reduced entrance into negotiation.
Not negotiating can be costly to both the individual and the organisation’s talent pool.
In the article Sunny shares her tips for those who are more reluctant to negotiate.