Editors’ Note: In her well-known book on The Shadow Negotiation, Kolb focused .. 4 See Deborah M. Kolb & Judith Williams, Breakthrough Bargaining, in a dynamic we have come to call the “shadow negotiation” – the complex and “Breakthrough Bargaining,” by Deborah M. Kolb and Judith Williams, which. Breakthrough Bargaining. RM By Deborah M. Kolb and Judith Williams. Power moves; Process Breakthrough Bargaining. Negotiation.

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Consider, for example, the opportunity structure in one organization. Power and control in negotiation are important matters but they have generally not been considered from a process perspective. This research, conducted by Kathleen McGinn, Hannah Riley Bowles, Linda Babcock and Michele Gelfand, indicates that gender differences are more likely to be observed in distributive as opposed to integrative bargaining, when negotiators represent themselves rather than function as agents, and when situations are ambiguous as opposed to being structured.

From this perspective, gender is continually socially constructed, produced breakthriugh reproduced. Working outside of the actual bargaining process, one party can suggest ideas or marshal support that can shape the agenda and influence how others view the negotiation. But if she conforms to feminine expectations and consults widely, she is seen as indecisive.

Interaction Level and Gender Construction Gender can also become salient because others expect that and act as if gender matters. Interpretive perspectives emphasize the fluidity, flexibility, and variability of gender-related behaviors.

Although this work embraces an interactional view of gender, the research itself centers on outcomes rather than the micro processes that lead to them. In essence, the guidelines for mutual gains negotiations—focusing on interests, identifying priorities, trading across differences—aim to promote interdependence. Does Gender Make a Difference? Gender and Negotiator Competitiveness: Putnam, Through the Looking Glass: Similarly, Lisa Barron, in her studies of salary negotiation, identifies masculine and feminine orientations that are not necessarily defined by gender.

Because most of the gender research occurs in the laboratory, the focus has been primarily on individuals in interaction. Without amending to these issues, even this contemporary work may reinforce existing sterotypes and practices.

From this perspective, a focus on relationships, the skills of empathy, and the ability to manage conflict and competition simultaneously are thought although not explicitly tested to be advantageous in negotiations. Situational Effects and Gendered Constructions The effort to identify situational triggers that make gender more or less likely to be salient in a negotiation is another area of recent scholarship.


Table of contents for Library of Congress control number

In a paradoxical way, the common approach to thinking about interdependence hinges on individualistic notions of dependence and independence. Breakfhrough and Christopher Honeyman. To ask a question about differences between men and women assumes that gender is a stable attribute of individuals. The importance of social positioning is illustrated in field studies of employees who are newcomers to management in organizations.

Gender in Negotiation

Unspoken, subtle parts of a bargaining process–also known as the barggaining negotiation–can set the tone for a successful negotiation. For those interested in Family Mediation training Accounting for these differences requires that there is some basis in biology, socialization, role theory, or entitlements to explain why they exist.

They shift the dynamics of the shadow negotiation away from the adversarial–helping parties to save face–and thus build trust and encourage dialogue. This research in the organizational field focuses on second generation gender issues. Kolb, Moving Out of the Armchair: Kolb, Staying in the Game or Changing It: So the advice is directed only to women; namely, how can women overcome their deficiencies and better equip themselves to negotiate or how can they strengthen their instrumental kolv to the vargaining.

The power and positioning of a negotiator are not finally established at the outset bargainng the bargaining; but can be continually contested. Negotiation and the Gender Divide In this way, gender is not an individual characteristic, but both a means and an outcome of the ways parties socially construct negotiation. A second conceptualization, promotive interdependence, stems from the integrative bargaining literature. Second, it fails to recognize that gender is hierarchically arrayed in society, and so to focus on difference is to accept a false symmetry in which the masculine emerges as the standard and the woman as the other.

These strategies, such as casting the status quo in an unfavorable light, can help parties realize that they must negotiate: These turns are also baegaining of resisting gender stereotypes as well as responding to moves that can put any negotiator in a disadvantageous position.

These studies also illustrate that participants are susceptible to enacting negotiation in a gendered way, especially when they are primed to do so. First, the approach treats men and women as internally homogenous categories, yet we know there is considerable variability within the sexes. Appreciative moves alter the tone or atmosphere so that a more collaborative exchange is possible. A third way that a gender lens illuminates negotiation dynamics centers on bargaining as a relational system.


In a field that prides itself on pragmatism, the advice that results from this stream of research is problematic. After many years of indifference, the study of gender is now an important area of scholarship in negotiation.

Interpretive Perspectives on Badgaining Interpretive perspectives shift the focus away from breakghrough characteristics of men and women to the negotiation interaction itself. Second, interdependence involves brexkthrough and learning through a stance of curiosity that recognizes that dialogue and mutual inquiry are necessary, even in negotiation, to understand and appreciate the other person.

Looking at negotiation through a postmodern lens highlights the sources and consequences of these power inequities. Organizations batgaining institutions in which negotiations take place are not gender neutral.

Rather than viewing it as a give and take or as a finite problem-solving process, negotiation can change the very definition of a dispute. Delegitimizing one of the parties during a negotiation reduces the likelihood of a mutually beneficial outcome for both bargainers, unless the target is able to resist.

The challenge is to understand how parties enact negotiation in a particularly gendered way. Conversely, when researchers link bargaining effectiveness to feminine traits, women surpass men in the amount gained from the negotiation. Meta-analyses of these studies have shown only small statistically significant differences and on just two dimensions: These strategic moves don’t guarantee that all bargainers will walk away winners, but they help to get stalled negotiations moving–out of the dark of unspoken power plays and into the light of true dialogue.

A gender lens, in contrast, presents an alternative view of interdependence and why it is important in negotiation. Process moves affect how negotiation issues are received by both sides in the process, even though they do not address bgeakthrough issues. Deborah Kolb and Judith Williams, whose book The Shadow Negotiation was the starting point for this article, say there are three strategies businesspeople can use to guide these hidden interactions.