Tag Archives: Leigh Thompson

Activate Women’s, Minorities’ Stereotype Threat Reactance to Enhance Performance

Claude Steele

Claude Steele

Stereotype threat, defined as activating prevailing but often-inaccurate concepts of a group’s typical behavior, was consistently associated with reduced scores on standardized test performance for women and African Americans in numerous studies by Stanford’s Claude Steele and Joshua Aronson now of NYU.

Joshua Aronson

They found that eliciting “reactance” or resistance to these stereotypes improved women’s and African Americans’ performance more than activating a positive shared identity, such as shared membership in a respected group.

Anthony Greenwald

Anthony Greenwald

Stereotypes may be invoked by implicit primes, which led both men and women to confirm gender stereotypes even when they explicitly disavowed stereotypes and associated prejudice, found University of Washington’s Anthony Greenwald and Mahzarin Banaji, then at Yale.
However, when evaluators focused on tasks, including judgment challenges about members of a stereotyped group, judges were less likely to render discriminatory decisions.

Laura Kray

Laura Kray

In contrast, both women and men showed stereotype reactance — the tendency to behave in contrast with the stereotype in negotiation tasks — when stereotypes were elicited with explicit primes, reported University of California, Berkeley’s Laura Kray, Leigh Thompson of Northwestern and Columbia’s Adam Galinsky.

Stereotype threat can be advantageous to men when negotiating with women, who are stereotypically considered less skillful negotiators.
Unlike Steele’s finding, Kray’s team observed performance-equalizing effects of activating a shared identity that transcended gender.

Gordon Moskowitz

Gordon Moskowitz

People can dissociate themselves from prevailing stereotypes with contrast primes, according to Lehigh University’s Gordon B. Moskowitz and Ian W. Skurnik of University of Utah.
They differentiated:

Standard-of-Comparison Prime, which produces greatest contrast by citing an extreme illustration.
This strategy relies on perception and requires less cognitive effort.

-Set–Reset Prime, which typically uses trait descriptions, and produces greatest contrast when moderate rather than extreme.
This approach requires significant mental effort.

Ryan P. Brown

Ryan P. Brown

Even men are not immune to stereotype threat.
Male participants “choked” when performing after a positive male stereotype was activated by University of Oklahoma’s Ryan P. Brown and Robert A. Josephs of University of Texas. 
Similar to women’s performance decrements in response to negative stereotype threat, Brown and Josephs hypothesized that men’s performance was undermined by “pressure to live up to the standard.”

Robert A Josephs

Robert A Josephs

People can manage stereotype threat by explicitly referring to the stereotype to activate reactance.
In addition, it’s valuable to refer to a shared identity that transcends the stigmatized group identity.
Eliciting contrast effects through examples and trait descriptions is another way to diminish the impact of stereotype threat of performance.

  • How do you manage stereotype threat for yourself and others?
  • How effective have you found activating stereotype reactance?

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Do You Have Agreement Bias? Accept Bad Deals?

Taya Cohen

Taya Cohen

Agreement bias is the tendency to acquiesce in negotiation, even if that decision results in a disadvantageous outcome in business and interpersonal relationships.

During negotiation, participants may enter a “negative bargaining zone,” when their positions and interests diverge so much that there is little possibility of crafting a win-win resolution.
Skillful negotiators usually end the discussion if it is unlikely to move beyond the “negative bargaining zone.”

Leigh Thompson

Leigh Thompson

However, negotiators may be vulnerable to accepting a disadvantageous deal for several reasons, explained Carnegie Mellon’s Taya Cohen and Leigh Thompson of Northwestern with University of Toronto’s Geoffrey J. Leonardelli.

◦       Sunk Costs: Individuals may wish to achieve a resolution, even a bad one, to feel value was gained from the time and effort invested in the negotiation,

◦       Image: Participants may wish to be seen as likeable,

◦       Erroneous Anchoring: Individuals may assume that their interests and the negotiation partner’s are mutually exclusive, and may overlook innovative, “integrative” solutions,

◦       Strength in Numbers: Negotiators who are outnumbered by the opposite negotiation team are likely to acquiesce to suboptimal deals.

Geoffrey J Leonardelli

Geoffrey J Leonardelli

Negotiating teams tend to be less susceptible to agreement bias when discussions enter a negative bargaining zone, found Cohen, Thompson, and Leonardelli.

Solo negotiators demonstrated more agreeable behavior, and were more likely to agree to unfavorable conditions.
However, when solo negotiators were joined by only one person, they avoided agreement because they accessed additional decision support.

Douglas Jackson

Douglas Jackson

Agreement bias occurs in lower-stakes situations than person-to-person negotiation – anonymous surveys, reported Douglas Jackson, then of Educational Testing Services and Penn State.
This “yea-saying” propensity, called acquiescence bias, is triggered when people agree to survey items, no matter the content.

Samuel Messick

Samuel Messick

A major contributor to acquiescence bias was social desirability concern, confirmed in research by Jackson and his  ETS colleague Samuel Messick in a factor analysis of Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) items.

Robin Pinkley

Robin Pinkley

In addition, faulty judgments can lead to poor negotiation outcomes like agreement, noted SMU’s Robin L. Pinkley, Terri L. Griffith of Santa Clara University, and University of Illinois’s Gregory B. Northcraft.

Terri Griffith

Terri Griffith

Pinkley’s group demonstrated ineffective outcomes when negotiators:

  • Accurately processed faulty and incomplete information (information availability errors),
  • Inaccurately process valid or complete information (information processing errors).
Gregory Northcraft

Gregory Northcraft

-*How do you guard against agreeing to bad deals?

-*How do reduce the possibility of Information availability errors and information processing errors?

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“Everything is Negotiable”: Prepare, Ask, Revise, Ask Again

Women In Techology ForumCisco Systems’ 2013 Global Women in Technology Forum, scheduled for 27 March 2013, focuses sessions around the theme “Think Big, Play Big.”
The planning team includes a number of recent graduate and new hires, and most of these ”Millennial Generation” employees thought that “Thinking Big” referred to knowing how Cisco’s vast portfolio of products “plays” together, rather than “Thinking Big” about one’s career plans, and to boldly ask for salary increases and promotions when merited.

These corporate newcomers were unaware of recent research documenting professional women’s continuing salary gap when compared with male peers, and gender differences in salary negotiation account for hundreds of thousands of lost wages for women.

Anna Beninger

Anna Beninger

Alixandra Pollack

Alixandra Pollack

Anna Beninger and Alixandra Pollack of Catalyst recently conducted longitudinal research that found early and persistent compensation gaps for women MBA graduates from 26 leading business schools in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, reported in The Promise of Future Leadership: Highly Talented Employees in the Pipeline.

Catherine DesRoches

Catherine DesRoches

Similarly, Catherine DesRoches of Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital with her colleagues found that women still make about 80 percent of their males peers in a study of salaries in academic medicine.

Women worked more hours, spent more time in administrative tasks, were awarded fewer grants, held fewer top titles, had fewer publications, and were paid less than their male counterparts.

These findings reinforce findings by Carnegie Mellon’s Linda Babcock, who estimates that women MBAs earn USD $500,000 – USD $2 million less than their male classmates over the course of a career because women tend not to negotiate the starting salary or those offered on transfer or promotion.

Linda Babcock

Linda Babcock

In contrast, Babcock found that men are four to eight times more likely to negotiate for both salary and promotions, and they to obtain superior results in most negotiations.

women dont askBabcock collaborated with Sara Laschever in Women Don’t Ask: The High Cost of Avoiding Negotiation–and Positive Strategies for Change to outline precursors of these negotiation differences based on differences in typical gender socialization.

They argue that many parents encourage boys to take risks, earn money in part-time jobs, and participate in competitive team sports, but are more likely to encourage girls to play collaboratively and value interpersonal affiliation.

Sara Laschever

Sara Laschever

These differences enable boys to practice negotiating and competing, and to tolerate disrupted interpersonal relationships, according to Babcock and Laschever.

John List

John List

University of Chicago’s John List, Andreas Leibbrandt, and Jeffrey Flory also concluded that the gender-based wage gap may be attributed to women’s tendency not to negotiate salaries and to avoid competitive work roles.

The researchers posted two identical job ads on internet job boards with different wage structures:  One offered hourly pay whereas the other had pay dependent on performance compared to their coworkers.
More women than men applied (1,566 women and 1,136 men) and more women applied to the hourly wage role.

Andreas Leibbrandt

Andreas Leibbrandt

List, Leibbrandt, and Flory reported that men were 94 percent more likely than women to seek and thrive in competitive work roles in a study of nearly 7,000 job seekers across 16 large American cities.
This gender gap “more than doubled” when the reward for performance rose.
Women were far more likely to walk away from a competitive workplace, though not if there were no other good options in their community.

Jeffrey Flory

Jeffrey Flory

In contrast, women were more likely to apply if the performance relied on teamwork, not on the individual, or if the salary was a flat fee independent of their performance.

When there was no explicit statement that wages are negotiable, as is most frequently true in recruiting situations, men were more likely to negotiate than women.
However, when wages were “negotiable,” this difference disappeared, and even reversed when women had explicit “permission” to ask for higher salaries and job titles.

Babcock’s research also found that women and men evaluate negotiation and interpersonal behavior differently:  Negotiation practices and words that are generally judged “acceptable” for men are frequently assessed as “overly aggressive” when women use them.
As a result of this differential evaluation of negotiation practices, Babcock and Laschever urge women to:

  • Define goals, acknowledging that “everything is negotiable”
  • Research their “market worth” in comparative jobs. Salary.com and Glassdoor.com are two sources
  • Re-examine possible low sense of entitlement to higher salaries and job roles, and related negotiation anxiety
  • Plan negotiation rationale (citing specific accomplishments, results, value to the organization)
  • Practice a positive-stated, confident negotiation “pitch,” offer timing (setting an advantageous anchor point) and counterarguments to mitigate objections
  • Plan counter-offers, “self-talk” to resist conceding and to manage anxiety and  maintain interpersonal rapport

Their later skill-building guide, Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want, advocates collaborative negotiation by cooperative bargaining in which both people derive value from the negotiation conversation. Ask for It
Babcock and Laschever outline a six week “Negotiation Gym” to build negotiation courage, comfort, skill, stamina, and strength while focusing

Linda Babcock

Linda Babcock

on the negotiation goal and delivering value for all parties.

Linda Babcock Video

NegotiationGetting to YesBasic negotiation principles are shared in Roger Fisher and William Ury’s classic Getting to Yes: Negotiating without Giving In and more recently by Roy Lewicki of Ohio State University, David Saunders of Queen’s University, and Bruce Barry of Vanderbilt in their research-based guide to Negotiation.

Leigh Thompson

Leigh Thompson

Leigh Thompson of Northwestern University reported that 93% of all negotiators fail to ask “diagnostic questions” to uncover the negotiation partner’s most important needs, priorities, preferences, and even fears.
Her research demonstrated uncovering this information can dramatically improve negotiation outcomes.
The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator recommends other negotiation “best practices.” The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator

Knowing Your ValueTelevision journalist Mika Brzezinski echoes Babcock and Laschever recommendations in Knowing Your Value: Women, Money, and Getting What You’re Worth.
She interviewed prominent women and men to learn their views on the persistent wage gap across genders and distilled latest research, disconcerting labor statistics, and more recommendations for action:

  • Research
  • Leverage
  • Negotiate
  • Re-negotiateHardball for Women
Pat Heim

Pat Heim

More than two decades ago, Pat Heim pointed to a research uncovering the source of women’s possible reluctance to negotiate:  Gender differences in attributions of success and failure in her Hardball for Women:

  • Women attribute failures to themselves (“internalizing”, “taking it personally) whereas men to external factors (“blaming”, “rationalizations”)
  • In contract, women attribute success to external factors (“deflection of merit”); men to themselves (“self-bolstering”)

Heim observed that men are typically promoted because they are seen to have “potential,” whereas women are typically promoted based on their results and accomplishments,

She shared research findings that demonstrate that men judge women as less authoritative when wearing “business casual” attire rather than when wearing a business suit.
However, men did not judge men as less authoritative when wearing less formal clothing.

These finding suggest that women can systematically develop the skills and enact the behaviors required to close the well-documented wage gap between professional women and men.

-How do you prepare for negotiations and overcome objections during negotiations?

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