Women Lead Just Like Men

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - 11:00am

Dr. Ochs published some experimental evidence that shows women lead just like men.


Here are some highlights in brief:
  • Women continue to face glass ceilings, glass walls, and cliffs, which some have attributed to differences in negotiation strategies, confidence, and trust behavior. However, experimental evidence from principal-agent (hierarchical) games indicates men and women negotiate with similar strategies and skill and are often perceived as more trustworthy. Women achieve bargaining outcomes that are not significantly different from men in both principal and agent roles stripped of institutional constraints. Consequently, focusing on context is more likely to be effective at addressing gender pay gaps.   
  • Persistent wage differences between women and men are not likely due to differences in negotiated outcomes in hierarchical settings, Men and women do not reach significantly different negotiated outcomes.
  • Women are not naively trusting or generous (as some stereotypes suggest), and they pursue individual economic self-interest in the same measure as men. However, they are often extended more trust.
  • Books like "Lean In" ignore the institutional constraints that impact women, particularly women of color. Consequently, notions like lean in imply that women don't have the will or skill to lead like men and essentially blame women for the conditions of oppression. Our research demonstrates that focusing on skill or suggesting that women are fundamentally different from men represents a missed opportunity to address gender pay gaps. We found that there are not significant differences between men and women in terms of the negotiation strategies or the bargaining outcomes in the role of boss and employee. However, women may be perceived as more trustworthy. All this suggests that focusing on the context is a more effective way to achieve gender equity.