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Editors’ Note: In her well-known book on The Shadow Negotiation, Kolb focused .. 4 See Deborah M. Kolb & Judith Williams, Breakthrough Bargaining, in a dynamic we have come to call the “shadow negotiation” – the complex and “Breakthrough Bargaining,” by Deborah M. Kolb and Judith Williams, which. Breakthrough Bargaining. RM By Deborah M. Kolb and Judith Williams. Power moves; Process Breakthrough Bargaining. Negotiation.

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Deborah Kolb and Judith Williams, whose book The Shadow Negotiation was the starting point for this article, say there are three strategies businesspeople can use to guide these hidden interactions. Organizations and institutions in which negotiations take place are not gender neutral.

Second, interdependence involves change and learning through a stance of curiosity that recognizes that dialogue and mutual inquiry are necessary, even bargaibing negotiation, to understand and appreciate the other person.

Second, it fails to recognize that gender is hierarchically arrayed in society, and so to focus on difference is to accept a false symmetry in which the masculine emerges as the standard and the woman as the other.

Documentation and Publications | CEFNE, Center for Study and Training in Business Negotiation

These organizational factors discipline women, as well as other marginal groups, and make gender issues salient in everyday negotiations. To ask a question about differences between men and women assumes that gender is a stable attribute of individuals. A second conceptualization, promotive interdependence, stems from the integrative bargaining literature.

This norm may work well for males, who are likely to be offered developmental opportunities in key strategic positions, but it does not work effectively for women, who often get offered human resource assignments, with questionable benefits to their careers.


Attending to these social processes expands the strategic repertoire necessary for effective negotiations and provides bargainers with opportunities to connect during the process.

In the latter situation, if the women want benefits to accrue to them, they need to negotiate about this norm—an act that the men generally do not have to do. The importance of social positioning is illustrated in field studies of employees who are newcomers to management in organizations. Breakthrrough this notion bargaininb extant theories, parties must be forced to recognize their joint dependence on each other by acknowledging that their fates are intertwined.

For women to achieve high joint gains, in this case profit, they need to be primed to pay more attention to their own needs.

In this way, gender is not an individual characteristic, but both a kolbb and an outcome of the ways parties socially construct negotiation. Whereas the initiating party may view this action as a strategic move, made without malice, the target may experience it as an attack that undermines the legitimate claims she is making about herself and her proposals.

Unspoken, subtle parts of a bargaining process–also known as the shadow negotiation–can set the tone for a successful negotiation. Work on stereotyped threat in which negotiators are primed with particular gender stereotypes indicates how these expectations influence outcomes. Thus, connecting rather than strategic activity forms the nature of interdependence. This type of asymmetry has created double binds for women in other research arenas.

Situational Effects and Gendered Constructions The effort to identify situational triggers that make gender more or less likely to be salient in a negotiation is another area of recent scholarship. Aspiring leaders are expected to willingly take on developmental opportunities—to refuse may preclude another offer.

Similarly, Lisa Barron, in her studies of salary negotiation, identifies masculine and feminine orientations that are not necessarily defined by gender. Working outside of the actual bargaining process, one party can suggest ideas or marshal support that can shape the agenda and influence how others view the negotiation. Second generation issues shape how gender plays out in workplace negotiations.


Initially cast as individual differences, the field has moved to an interpretive and fluid conception of gender. These studies also illustrate that participants are susceptible to enacting negotiation in a gendered way, especially when they are primed to do so.

Breakthrough bargaining.

A third way that a gender lens illuminates negotiation dynamics centers on bargaining as a relational system. Because most of the gender research occurs in the laboratory, the focus has been primarily on individuals in interaction.

Kolb, Moving Out of the Armchair: If she acts decisively and pushes for what she needs—behaviors we might expect from leaders—she may be seen as too pushy. Although this work embraces an interactional view of breaktgrough, the research itself centers on outcomes rather than the micro processes that lead to them.

Gender in Negotiation

In a paradoxical way, the common approach to thinking about interdependence hinges on individualistic notions of dependence and independence. For those interested in Family Mediation training After many years of indifference, the study of gender is now an important area of scholarship in negotiation.

Gender and Negotiator Competitiveness: In this approach, interdependence is negotiated rather than surfacing as a residual or byproduct of an agreement.