Why Women Get Lied to in Negotiations
Confidence and perceived competence are key, study finds
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2014 5:00 PM CDT
A woman walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Monday, Jan. 27, 2014.    (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

(Newser) – Think women get cheated at the negotiating table? That painful cliché has found new life in a US study of MBA students who, true to form, cheated females more often than males, Jezebel reports. First, researchers at UPenn and UC Berkeley had prospective sellers—both male and female—negotiate with student buyers. Sure enough, the buyers said females were warmer, more incompetent, and more easily deceived. "Warmth … may decrease women's resistance to lies because directly confronting deception is considered impolite," write the study's authors. Another key: People considered less competent appear unlikely to scrutinize lies, one author tells Slate.

The researchers again paired off students—this time with one selling real estate intended for "tasteful," residential purposes, and the other secretly buying it to develop a high-rise instead. Again, female sellers got cheated more often, even if the buyer was female. The study found that buyers would blatantly lie to women, saying something like, "They will be luxury condos," while telling men "I can't tell you" their true purpose, or even admitting the truth with, "I'm not supposed to tell you this, but..." The numbers:

  • Men admitted lying to women 24% of the time, and to men only 3%.
  • Women lied to women 17% of the time, and to men 11%.
An in-depth Atlantic article headlined "The Confidence Gap" says the issue is women's confidence, not ability, while Slate brings it down to stereotypes about what women are "capable of. And until we chip away at those, telling women to try harder won’t get us fair treatment." (See why one writer thinks women are "best" at age 42.)

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Aug 5, 2014 12:30 PM CDT
They never met me. I may SEEM warm and fuzzy, but I can smell a con job a mile away. :)
Aug 5, 2014 8:33 AM CDT
A negotiating table is where the battle of bullshiat takes place. If one is looking across that battlefield at a woman, The subconscious need to dominate is joined by the urge to seduce-- That's not being sexist. The whole world admires and desires what women have, including women. How many women in business wear the traditional uniform of crew-cut hair, suit and tie, black, flat shoes? Even the most conservative will usually have some variation in the cut, fabric, color, hair, make-up, shoes, hose-- something kind of-- 'girly' (i.e.-- that which accentuates beauty). Beauty = desirability = the instinctive urge to breed. The human animal has not evolved this far (this painfully short distance from the primordial ooze) by ignoring this instinct. If we don't exterminate ourselves through pollution, war, poverty and disease--especially pollution), we may evolve to the point where perpetuation of the species is as automated and impersonal as dropping in your coins and picking up your candy bar. Until then, we will lie our asses off to get the "clothes" off of that woman, figuratively, as a matter of desire, domination, or both. It is part of human nature, and cannot be intellectualized away.
Aug 5, 2014 8:10 AM CDT
Give me a break. The women's plans and inherent evil are so good that they lie virtually all the time. But their goal is the long term...when they divorce and steal the majority of their exes' money. I have never known of a woman who didn't have a stash and plans for her future, usually leaving the ex impecunious. Women lie, cheat and steal, in business as well as not. They are the ultimate thieves of our lives whether they head up a deal or not. They always win.