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Lead Your Team Strategy

The Truth About Negotiations: Women Are Lied to More

The Truth About Negotiations: Women Are Lied to More
Credit: Fisher Photostudio/Shutterstock

When it comes to workplace negotiations, women don't get many straight answers, new research finds.

Women are usually at a disadvantage during business negotiations because they face more deceit than men, according to a study to be published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

The study's authors found that low expectations for a negotiator's competence drove the deceptive intent.

"We found that men and women alike were targeting women with more deception than men," Jessica Kennedy, assistant professor of management at the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management and co-author of the new research, said in a statement. "It was interesting that men and women alike tried to deceive women in negotiations."

As part of the study, researchers had MBA students hold mock real estate negotiations where it was up to the buyer  to reveal whether the "real" intention for the use of the land in question contradicted the seller's wishes. Buyers admitted to being deceitful to 22 percent of female sellers, compared with 5 percent of male sellers. [Psychology Plays Key Role in Women's Salary Negotiations ]

The study's authors discovered that when women were at the negotiating table, they were perceived as easier to deceive than men.

"We measured a number of different things, and what kept popping up is people expected women to be easier to mislead than men," Kennedy said.

The question of whether the gender stereotype that women are easier to mislead is accurate is still up for debate, according to Kennedy.

"Men and women alike are poor at detecting deception,” she said. “Past work has established that women are better at decoding nonverbal cues than men, though no better at catching a liar."

There are steps women can take to try to combat this form of discrimination.
"I think we can train women to exhibit characteristics in negotiations that suggest they're not at all easy to mislead," Kennedy said. "If we have women persistently questioning information, asking for verification from multiple sources, writing critical things in contracts and signaling a willingness to retaliate for deception, I think that should help to disconfirm this stereotype."

The study was co-authored by Laura Kray, holder of the Warren E. and Carol Spieker Chair in Leadership at the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business, and Alex Van Zandt, a Haas School of Business Ph.D. candidate.

Originally published on Business News Daily.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.