Women are free to compromise, but the drive to prove their masculinity might lead men to make decisions that they later regret.

Compromise nearly guaranteed when a woman is involved in decision-m...

Compromise always occurs among two decision makers when a woman is involved (female pairs or mixed gender pairs) because compromise is consistent with feminine norms. It hardly ever occurs when the decision makers are both men because extremism is a more masculine trait; men tend to push away from compromise options and choose extreme options in order to prove their masculinity in presence of other men,...

... a new study ... finds that compromise always occurs among two decision makers when a woman is involved (female-female pairs or mixed gender pairs), but hardly ever when the pair of decision makers are men.

"In contrast to men," says Nikolova, "women act the same together as they would alone because they don't need to prove anything in front of other women. Womanhood is not precarious and does not need the same level of public defense as manhood. That's why we observe the compromise effect in the joint decisions of two female partners."

Interestingly, the research found that compromise is criticized among other men, but embraced by women.

"Only men judge other men very harshly when they suggest the compromise option to a male partner,"... [emphasis mine]

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Wouldn't this also apply to politics? If you send all male negotiation teams to negotiate a truce, their hands are tied behind their backs. If both parties actually want a truce, both should send in mixed gender teams.

In fact negotiation is ubiquitous in politics, yet it's male dominated. The entire society would run more smoothly, in my view, if women occupied half of all power positions.

Of course this information is used to guide manipulation of consumers, in the Journal of Consumer Research. We can see that it has broader application.

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Replies to This Discussion

I am in general agreement with this study.  I do think there are some circumstances where women do not compromise.  In my case and, I imagine with most women, these would be surrounding circumstances in their personal lives.  I was always willing to compromise for the greater good at work.  But there are a few areas I can not compromise on in my personal life.




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