Availability Bias Can Improve Women’s Propensity to Negotiate

Yellowlees Douglas, Samantha Miller


Women’s reluctance to negotiate aggressively on their own behalf has long been thought to account for the striking disparities between the salaries earned by men versus women. Extensive research has documented women occupying a low-wage “sticky floor,” encountering mid-level career bottlenecks, or being confined by a glass ceiling. In numerous studies, women have undervalued themselves, responded to stereotypes on women’s lack of aggressiveness, or placed greater value on interpersonal relationships even in negotiating salaries. However, this study found that, contrary to most studies on women’s and men’s propensity to negotiate, women negotiated as aggressively as did their male colleagues. Not only did more women than men negotiate aggressively for a reward, but women relied on heuristics usually seen as misleading in decision-making to make demands in their favor. This study focuses on women’s and men’s reliance on availability, anchoring, and framing—staples of understanding negotiating behavior independent of sex—in requesting rewards, linked notably to perceptions of the value of their highest-earned salaries and to their job performance compared to their workplace colleagues’. When faced with situational ambiguity and an absence of targets in negotiating a first offer or reward, women may improve their negotiating skills through training that uses priming, availability, or counterfactual thinking.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/ijba.v6n2p86

International Journal of Business Administration
ISSN 1923-4007(Print) ISSN 1923-4015(Online)


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