Feminine Features are a Drawback at the Bargaining Table—Even for Men

New research suggests that people with feminine facial features are offered less in negotiations than those with more masculine ones, and are perceived as more cooperative. 

Feminine Features are a Drawback at the Bargaining Table—Even for Men

People with feminine features—even men—are at a disadvantage at the bargaining table, finds new research by Eric Gladstone, a PhD candidate at Johnson at Cornell University, and Kathleen O’Connor, associate professor of management and operations. The study was published online in July in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decisions Processes.

Among the key findings:

·        When people choose negotiation counterparts, they prefer men and women with more feminine faces

·        Conversely, people select less-feminine faces, when selecting a negotiation agent

·        Negotiators believe counterparts with more feminine features will be more cooperative

·        Negotiators demand relative more form female-featured counterparts.

"We found people were systematically more aggressive to feminine-featured faces," Gladstone told the Washington Post. "They were more aggressive in their negotiations, they were more demanding, and they would send offers that demanded more." 

Bloomberg Businessweek also reported on the research.

Gladstone is earning his PhD in management and organizations at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, and will complete is degree in May 2015. His research articles have been published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Psychological Science, Journal of Mathematical Sociology, and Best Paper Proceedings of the 2014 Academy of Management.

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