HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Co-Director, Center for Public Leadership
Co-Director, Women and Public Policy Program
Roy E. Larsen Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management


Authors propose two categories of situational moderators of gender in negotiation: situational ambiguity and gender triggers. Reducing the degree of situational ambiguity constrains the influence of gender on negotiation. Gender triggers prompt divergent behavioral responses as a function of gender. Field and lab studies (1 and 2) demonstrate that decreased ambiguity in the economic structure of a negotiation (structural ambiguity) reduces gender effects on negotiation performance. Study 3 shows representation role (negotiating for self or other) functions as a gender trigger by producing a greater effect on female than male negotiation performance. Study 4 shows decreased structural ambiguity constrains gender effects of representation role, suggesting situational ambiguity and gender triggers work in interaction to moderate gender effects on negotiation performance. (This paper is a revision of RWP02-037.)


Bowles, Hannah Riley, Linda Babcock, and Kathleen L. McGinn. "Constraints and Triggers: Situational Mechanics of Gender in Negotiation." KSG Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP05-051, September 2005.