Skip To The Main Content

News

I DO IT MY WAY - Interview with Professor Brooke Gazdag

Sep 18, 2018

Schranner Negotiation Institute:Brooke Gazdag

Professor Gazdag, your research is focused on the intersection of gender studies and negotiation studies. Based on your research, what role does gender play in negotiations?

Professor Brooke Gazdag:

First, we need to remind ourselves that gender stereotypes still play an active role in the work environment. These gender stereotypes function as cognitive shortcuts so that we can quickly understand and evaluate our environment. One of the shortcuts are the general stereotypes, where we have expectations of men or women. According to these so-called gender “rules”, negotiation is not in line with what you would expect from a woman. We tend to think of negotiations as a competitive act, which is more in line with what is expected for men to act self-interested, more assertive, more independent, going after what they want. However, when women engage in negotiations, it contradicts the more relational image they have as very community-oriented, very cooperative, very harmonious. If we think of negotiations in a competitive context, women and negotiations are not generally seen to be a match. 

Schranner Negotiation Institute:

Do women face different challenges than men in negotiation situations? 

Professor Brooke Gazdag:

We can look at it in two ways: one the one hand, one side of the challenge is how women’s behaviour is interpreted by the other people who are involved in the negotiation. On the other hand, women usually internalize the social information and this affects their behaviour. For example, I know that if I behave assertively as a woman, then it may not be well received. That is why I might not ask for as much as I want or it might lead me to negotiate with myself at first, since I know that there are certain social expectations I want to meet. This could turn into a kind of feedback loop, where women anticipate how others will react, which in turn leads them to proactively adjust their behavior to be more in line with the female stereotype.  

Schranner Negotiation Institute:

From what you have observed, what do the most effective female negotiators have in common?

Professor Brooke Gazdag:

This goes for many effective negotiators, but for women, it is especially powerful: The negotiators who invest more in their preparation are the most effective. It is often said that 80% of the negotiation is actually before the negotiation in the preparation phase: doing your research, asking around, tapping your network. Women tend to ask for advice and seek other people’s perspective more often, which has the potential to make them more effective. Another important success factor is learning from each negotiation experience and thinking about the negotiation from different angles. For example, effective negotiators might not only focus on the economic outcome, but also on the subjective: ‘Have I built a relationship for the future?’. By looking at the negotiation from a subjective perspective, women (and men) can understand negotiation success in broader terms. Given their more communal orientation, women, especially, should understand that the relational outcomes in a negotiation have a far-reaching impact in future negotiations. 

Schranner Negotiation Institute:

What advice would you give to female negotiators?

Professor Brooke Gazdag:

Label concessions. What I mean by that is women should make it clear when they are giving up something for their counterparty, big or small. There is some research that says that when women do a favour for others or help others, somehow it does not register as something extra - it is considered as typical behaviour. But when a man does a favour, others’ tend to react with “oh what a nice guy”, because it is not necessarily in line with the gender stereotypes for men and therefore a type of positive surprise. Bottomline: When women give up something in a negotiation, they have to point it out.

Professor Gazdag, thank you for this interview.

 

Meet Professor Brooke Gazdag at our Women Workshop in Munich and register here.