Why Women Ask for Less Salary than Men: Mediation of Stereotype Threat in Salary Negotiations

Detta är en avhandling från Department of Psychology, P.O. Box 213, SE-221 00 LUND

Sammanfattning: Women ask for less salary than men in negotiations. Sex differences in negotiating performance have recently been explained as stereotype threat effects. Stereotype threat theory states that the performance of negatively stereotyped group-members can suffer in contexts where the negative stereotype is salient. Women are stereo¬typed as bad negotiators, compared to men, and previous research has shown that women negotiate inferiorly to men when a negotiation is described as diagnostic of negotiating ability. However, when a negotiation is described as non-diagnostic of ability, the stereotype threat is lifted and there are no sex differences in negotiating performance. It is still unclear which psychological mechanisms mediate stereotype threat performance effects. The studies in the present thesis aimed at investigating self-stereotyping and motivational factors as possible mediators of stereotype threat performance effects in salary negotiations. In Study I, the participating women resisted self-stereotyping with negative, feminine stereotypical traits that were contrasted with masculine, stereotypical traits which were more positive in valence. In Study II the women self-stereotyped with feminine stereotypical traits before the diagnostic negotiation, although there were no sex differences in the self-concept content before the non-diagnostic negotiation. As the self-concept is considered an important regulator of behaviour there is reason to believe that self-stereotyping with feminine stereotypical traits may temporarily lead to acting more stereotypically feminine, which may be un¬fortunate in salary negotiations. However, there was no stereotype threat per¬formance effect in study II, so self-stereotyping could not be tested as a mediator of a stereotype threat performance effect. In study III there was a stereotype threat performance effect. Also, the results showed that the women set less challenging goals than the men before the diagnostic salary negotiation, although there were no sex differences before the non-diagnostic negotiation. The participants’ minimum salary goals (reservation salary) significantly mediated the stereotype threat performance effect. In conclusion: The observation that women under stereotype threat ask for less salary than men can be explained by sex differences in motivational factors. Future stereotype threat research may want to investigate whether self-stereotyping is connected to motivational factors in a stereotype threat context.

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