“Feminine charm” was once one of the few available negotiation tactics for women and has been portrayed in novels by Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, and George Eliot.
United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright conceded to interviewer Bill Maher that she used “charm” in negotiations with heads of state, inspiring University of California, Berkeley’s Laura Kray and Alex Van Zant with Connson Locke of London School of Economics to investigate “feminine charm” in negotiation situations.
They found that “the aim of feminine charm is to make an interaction partner feel good to gain compliance toward broader interaction goal,” and is characterized by:
- -Friendliness (concern for the other person),
- -Flirtation (concern for self and self-presentation).
They found that “feminine charm” (friendliness plus flirtation) created positive impressions that partially buffered the social penalties or “backlash” against negotiating, identified by Harvard’s Hannah Riley Bowles and her colleagues.
Women who were perceived as flirtatious achieved superior economic deals in negotiations compared with women who were seen as friendly, validating suggestions by Carnegie Mellon’s Linda Babcock, that women achieve better negotiation outcomes when they combine power tactics with warmth.
Their findings expose “a financial risk associated with female friendliness:…the resulting division of resources may be unfavorable if she is perceived as ‘too nice’.”-*How do you mitigate the “financial risk associated with female friendliness”?
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