Flirting helps women succeed in negotiations

| August 1, 2012 | Comments (0)

Researchers from the University of California Berkley and the London School of Economics have found that women who flirt during negotiations get as much as 20 percent off on cars. In four different experiments that aimed to measure feminine charm, the academics led by Dr. Laura Kray found that the right mix of flirtation and friendliness improved success rates for negotiations by as much as a third. The researchers found that this technique worked when employed to both men and women.

Dr. Kray considers feminine charm, which the study defines as a “management technique available to women that combines warmth, friendliness, and affiliation with flirtation, including playfulness, flattery, and sexiness” as a “strategic behavior aimed at making the person you are negotiating with feel good in order to get them to agree to your goals.”

However, Dr. Kray cautions women from being overly friendly. A selfish element has to be present when a woman flirts because if she is too friendly, she gets adverse results. In this study, the women who were perceived as overly pleasant paid more for what they purchased: “They are seen as pushovers; as caring solely about satisfying other people’s interest.” The report concluded: “This is consistent with the finding that warmth signals a lack of competitiveness, making friendliness an economic liability in a negotiation.”

In the study, the female participants were asked to use their female charms—that is, they were told to be “animated in their body movements, make frequent eye contact with their partner, smile and laugh”— received as much as 21 percent discount.

Despite the short-term benefits that flirting gives, British television personality Saira Khan considers it “very dangerous” when it is employed to get what you want. She opines in the TV show Daybreak: “When you’re going with intent to use your sexual power to get a result, I think that can be dangerous especially in the workforce. And I think people who do use that tactic—you may get short-term results but long term, I think your colleagues will probably not respect you for it… and long-term I don’t think you’re seen as a genuine person. Your skills and talents have got to come through for whatever you’re trying to achieve.”

On the same TV show, Welsh glamour model, beauty queen, and television personality Imogen Thomas, alluded that she doesn’t mind if flirting is used by women to get equal pay: “In businesses these days or certain companies, men get more pay than women. So I think if women can flutter their eyelashes a little bit to get equal pay, then why not?”


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Category: Women@Work

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