Negotiating with Stereotypes

A Black woman negotiates in a conference roomThe conventional wisdom — backed by research — is that women, on average, achieve worse outcomes than men when negotiating. But Angelica Leigh ’20 (PhD) found that stereotype didn’t match her experiences as a Black woman.

Leigh, assistant professor of management and organization at Duke University, decided to explore the intersection of gender and race with Sreedhari Desai, associate professor of organizational behavior and Crist W. Blackwell Scholar at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Does being a member of two social groups that have experienced discrimination — Black and female — lead to worse outcomes, overall, in negotiations, with the double identity leading to greater disparities?

To find out, Leigh and Desai conducted three negotiation studies where they teased out differences based on race and gender, and they explored how different traits influence those results.

The results? The studies showed better outcomes, at least in some negotiations, for Black women compared to Black men and white women. On some social measures, such as wages, women of color still experience worse outcomes than white women and men of all races, Desai said, so there are still puzzling gaps.

“Oftentimes the generic advice given to women is that they will face backlash if they behave in assertive ways,” Desai said. “This backlash might not apply to Black women.”

She warns Black women “not to be derailed by such messages and to go play to your own strengths.”

Read the complete Carolina Story…

Related Stories

Flowing Together

Attracting expertise: A win for Carolina, a win for research

Archaeological Dig in Galilee Uncovers Mosaics