The authors propose that gender differences in negotiations reflect women's contextually contingent impression management strategies. They argue that the same behavior, bargaining assertively, is construed as congruent with female gender roles in some contexts yet incongruent in other contexts. Further, women take this contextual variation into account, adjusting their bargaining behavior to manage social impressions. A particularly important contextual variable is advocacy-whether bargaining on one's own behalf versus on another's behalf. In self-advocacy contexts, women anticipate that assertiveness will evoke incongruity evaluations, negative attributions, and subsequent "backlash"; hence, women hedge their assertiveness, using fewer competing tactics and obtaining lower outcomes. However, in other-advocacy contexts, women achieve better outcomes as they do not expect incongruity evaluations or engage in hedging. In a controlled laboratory experiment, the authors found that gender interacts with advocacy context in this way to determine negotiation style and outcomes. Additionally, process measures of anticipated attributions and backlash statistically mediated this interaction effect.
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