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Gender and identity threat in negotiations: The role of upward counterfactuals
Keywords: negotiation; gender; identity; counterfactual thinking
Abstract: Negotiations are categorized as a competitive context, with one winner and one loser. This categorization, both in practice and in research, has implications for gender roles and stereotypes (Kray & Thompson, 2004). We suggest an important factor in understanding some of the gender differences we observe is based on counterfactual thinking and its influence on identity threat. Specifically, we believe the direct connection between upward counterfactual thinking and identity threat is likely to be stronger for women than men. Results from an experience sampling study with professional negotiators support this assertion. Female negotiators are more likely to experience identity threat when they believe they could have reached a better agreement with their counterpart. These findings provide insights into how negotiators deal with their day to day negotiations.