Category: Jared R. Curhan

Gender stereotypes in negotiation—does Sheryl Sandberg have it right?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 year and 5 months and 16 days ago

How do you negotiate when you need to make a positive impression? The answer may depend on your gender. In Sheryl Sandberg’s much discussed Lean In, the author describes research findings that women perceived as hard-charging types are liked less. She advises women to smile profusely during a negotiation, use the word “we” instead of “I,” and express appreciation to your bosses. Of course, Sandberg is aware of the contradictions implicit in these instructions, given the tenet of the book itself and adds, “No wonder women don’t negotiate.” Her point is not lost on negotiation theorists who understand that for both genders there exists a tension between claiming value for oneself and being likeable in a conversation or negotiation. 

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