Candid self-disclosure can hamper salary negotiation outcomes, found Monash University’s Andreas Leibbrandt and John A. List of the University of Chicago, in a study of women who expressed gratitude for a salary that exceeded their expectations.
Some women applying for administrative assistant jobs were told that the wages were “negotiable,” and these women negotiated higher pay by a ratio of more than 3 to 1.
This result echoes previous findings that women frequently do not negotiate unless given explicit permission.
Leibbrandt and List tested this hypothesis by not mentioning negotiation to the remaining participants, and these women typically provided “too much information” by remarking that the posted wage exceeded expectations and that they were willing to work for a lower hourly rate.
Though this approach likely leads to lower salary, it could be considered strategic ingratiation.
This negotiation tactic can take several forms, according to Duke University’s Edward E. Jones:
-Self-presentation: Self-enhancement or “one-down” humility, providing favors or gifts,
-Flattery: “Other-enhancement” either directly or ensuring word-or-mouth report of positive yet credible comments,
-Agreement: Opinion-conformity, non-verbal matching-mimicry.
The ingratiator’s intent may be to enhance the future working relationship, but could lead the negotiation partner to question the applicant’s judgment, qualifications, and confidence.
This maneuver may delay salary increases because the candidate expresses satisfaction with the original offer.
However, “strategic ingratiation” may result in promotion or pay increase, according to Concordia University’s Steven H. Appelbaum and Brent Hughes.
They found that effective use of “strategic ingratiation” was influenced by situational and individual factors including:
- Locus of control,
- Work task uniqueness.
In another of Leibbrandt and List’s randomized field studies, collaborating with Concordia colleague Jeffrey Flory, they found that among nearly 2,500 job-seekers, men did not wait for permission to negotiate when no statement was made about salary discussions.
In fact, male participants said they prefer ambiguous salary negotiation norms.
Despite women’s possible hesitance to negotiate without an invitation, they achieved higher salaries at about the same rate as men when invited.
The team analyzed compensation plans of nearly 7,000 job-seekers.
In “competitive work settings,” salary negotiation was typically expected, and men stated a preference for these work environments.
Leibbrandt, List, and Flory concluded that women accept “competitive” workplaces provided “the job task is female-oriented” and the local labor market leaves few alternatives.
Women who seek higher salaries benefit from proposing their “aspirational salaries” rather than waiting for permission to negotiate.
Women negotiators can achieve better outcomes when they offer moderate expressions of gratitude and avoid revealing their “reserve” salary figure.
-*In what work situations have you benefitted from applying ‘strategic ingratiation’?
-*To what extent have expressions of gratitude in negotiation undermined bargaining outcomes?
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