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Contrary to Popular View, Working Women Do Negotiate For Career Success, Study Says

BOSTON (June 13, 2014) — Working women are using a range of negotiation tools to advance their careers, such as strategic mixture of online and face-to-face communication, say researchers at the Simmons School of Management. In fact, women use a variety of negotiation approaches that often lead to improved career satisfaction and greater job success.

Research findings, published recently by the Center for Gender in Organizations at the Simmons School of Management, contradict a popular sentiment that women employees do not negotiate for increased job benefits. Rather, the research shows that women seek a variety of desired outcomes in their negotiations. These outcomes are not limited to increased wages, but also include career opportunities and the overcoming of workplace barriers.

"Our study demonstrates that women clearly understand the importance of negotiation to propel their careers forward. They negotiate for a variety of desired employment outcomes, using a range of communication options. They are skilled at conducting negotiations face-to-face, online, or over the telephone," said Paula Gutlove, co-author of the study and a professor at the Simmons School of Management.

The Simmons researchers sought to better understand two aspects of women's work-related negotiation: why women negotiate at work; and how they negotiate. These aspects were explored through a survey instrument completed by 264 businesswomen at the 2013 Simmons Leadership Conference. The full report on negotiation research can be found on the CGO website at:

The research showed that, while financial compensation is often cited as a negotiation priority, it is not a top motivator. More common reasons for negotiation include:

  • Seeking a new position
  • Seeking a promotion or new leadership opportunity
  • Changing how or where one worked<

The women participating in the survey also indicated that negotiation is a key tool to overcome workplace barriers, such as a lack of appropriate recognition or reward, negative workplace politics, or being blocked for advancement.

The study also found that senior-level women were successful in using negotiations to advance their careers. They do so at a rate (95%) that is higher than the rates for women in mid- (78%) and entry-level (70%) positions. Furthermore, the study found that younger, typically more junior-level, women negotiate more frequently online compared to older, typically more senior-level women, who tend to negotiate face-to-face. The women who were surveyed unequivocally indicated that they want more training to better understand and execute negotiation practices at work.

The Center for Gender in Organizations (CGO), part of the Simmons School of Management, is an international resource on ways to improve organizational effectiveness by strengthening gender equity and diversity in the workplace. The CGO's research and consulting services address issues related to gender equity and change, globalization, leadership, and diversity in the United States and abroad.

The Simmons College School of Management is the only business school in the world designed specifically for women. It is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), a distinction that is earned by fewer than 30% of business schools in the United States and fewer than 5% worldwide. The Simmons School of Management was ranked the #1 MBA with the "Greatest Opportunity for Women" in 2014 by The Princeton Review for the 5th consecutive year. That ranking is part of The Princeton Review's 2014 guidebook, "The Best 295 Business Schools." U.S. News & World Report also ranked Simmons in "The Best College Undergraduate Business Programs 2014" category.