Negotiating is an integral part of daily business life, especially on a low-key level – it’s what helps the wheels roll towards shared goals. But a recent study shows many women regard negotiation – minor or significant – as a battlefield they are often ill prepared for, according to Mara Olekalns, Ruchi Sinha and Carol T Kulik, writing for Harvard Business Review.
There’s no avoiding sometimes difficult discussions when you want to secure resources, change practices or improve working conditions, so why do women, in particular, find it so challenging?
The authors – management and employment academics in Australia – quizzed 84 educated business women, aged 29 to 64, working in large organisations, about an important recent negotiation they had been involved in. The main topics were their own pay, promotion, work-life balance, professional development, or management of available human and monetary resources.