Women better than men in clinching business deals

June 26th, 2008 - 4:16 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 26 (IANS) Although few women occupy top slots in corporate hierarchies, a new study shows that they may be more accomplished in negotiations than their masculine counterparts. Yael Itzhaki of Tel Aviv University carried out simulations of business negotiations among 554 Israeli and American management students at Ohio State University and in Israel, reported EurekAlert.

“Women are more generous negotiators, better co-operators and are motivated to create win-win situations,” notes Itzhaki. Her PhD study indicated that in certain groupings, women offered better terms than men to reach an agreement. They were good at facilitating interaction between the parties, she says.

The simulations involved negotiating the terms of a joint venture, including the division of shares. The point was to examine how women behave in situations requiring cooperation and competition.

Itzhaki also discovered that men have begun to follow feminine strategies during negotiations. “Women in mid-management positions are criticised for being too ‘cooperative’ and ‘compassionate’, so they don’t get promoted. Then men come in and use the same tactics women are criticised for.”

Although both men and women can be good negotiators, Itzhaki emphasizes that there should be more women in top management jobs. Women have unique skills to offer, Itzhaki says. They’re great listeners, they care about the concerns of the other side, and they’re generally more interested in finding a win-win situation to the benefit of both parties than male negotiators.

These are especially desirable traits in today’s business world, which is calling for service improvements for customers and clients. Women today are earning more top positions in banking because of this trend, says Itzhaki.

In part, women don’t reach CEO positions because they lack the right professional experience for the job and never enter the pool from which top positions are drawn.

Managers commonly choose successors and colleagues who are most similar to themselves, explains Itzhaki.

Itzhaki is currently advising Israeli companies on how to take action. A lot of women don’t care to “fight” to be recognised, she says, preferring cooperation over competition. But more women in management can translate to a healthier bottom line, Itzhaki says.

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