How Your Gender Could Affect Your Negotiations

By Elsie Dudukovich0 Comments

Have you ever left the negotiation table wondering what just happened? 

Maybe the resulting deal didn’t fall into a nice and neat win/lose scenario, but it certainly didn’t fall into the win/win you could see coming together after all your research. 

In a scientific paper titled, “Not competent enough to know the difference? Gender stereotypes about women’s ease of being misled predict negotiator deception,” authors Laura J. Kray, Jessica A. Kennedy, and Alex B. Van Zant explore the question, what, if any, difference does gender play in negotiations? They come to a disheartening conclusion:  If there is a woman on the other side of the negotiation table, both men and women are significantly more likely to lie to her. 

In a study from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, researchers found a person of either gender with facial features considered womanly were more likely to be viewed as passive and face the automatic bias of being a bad negotiator.  This stereotype led their opponents to feel freer to make more demands at the table than they would with someone with masculine characterized facial features.

Defying stereotypes and getting a fair shake
Taking the results of these studies in hand, women go into negotiations with cards stacked against them.  That said, armed with the knowledge they are going to be viewed as passive and weaker, a woman can use those stereotypes to turn the tables. 

Conducting thorough due diligence is expected of you if you intend to enter into any investment.  There is plenty to gain from extensive research into ventures you want to seriously pursue, as well as taking advantage of every opportunity to advance your negotiation skills.  After all, all parties want to come to the table armed with solid information and a strong grasp of the possible fine details playing a role in the negotiations needed to secure a good deal. 

But the elephant in the room is while you know to anticipate a range of movement on price or variance in options possible, how many investors expect to be blatantly lied to during negotiations?

Taking the question to the next level, at what point does the angling between parties to get the best deal cross over into fraud?

While negotiations can be incredibly complex, the basic terms of common-law fraud can be seen in a simple light: when one knowingly misrepresents a material fact another party reasonably relies on and this misrepresentation causes damages.  Of course, even this basic concept of fraud can be examined in extensive detail. The criteria of whether or not the misrepresenting party could be considered as recklessly and consciously disregarding the truth in order to further their agenda is an aspect often considered.

Fraud is not the same as aggressive negotiation and there are resources for addressing such concerns.  Equity Trust provides the Fraud and Scam Awareness Center to give clients one more tool as they explore their options. 

There is a big difference between a sour deal, an underperforming investment, and a fraud scheme.  Knowing your investments, seeking the guidance of qualified advisors, conducting due diligence, and taking advantage of opportunities to hone your negotiation skills can help you overcome obstacles to success.