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Politeness: A Secret Weapon Or A Silent Killer For Women In Negotiations?
Recent scholarship has argued that negotiators can strategically use polite language as a tool to mitigate the risk of offending their counterpart while maximizing their own gains. We build on this scholarship to examine how the effectiveness of politeness as a negotiation tool may differ for men and women, as a function of both descriptive and prescriptive norms. We find that women, compared to men, tend to use more polite language, and have stronger beliefs about the effectiveness of polite language in their opening negotiation offer. We also find that men respond negatively to women who do not use politeness or men who do use politeness, whereas women respond negatively to men or women who do not use politeness in their opening offers. Our work suggests that negotiators should be aware of how their own gender identity intersects with their counterpart’s gender to create specific expectations for their use of politeness and how effective it will be in a given negotiation.