There was a lot of press last week about an article on female charm by UC Berkeley professor Laura Kray.Kray found in a series of studies that flirting makes women more effective in competitive and cooperative negotiations.
But buried in her paper is a depressing conclusion about male charm.
It was in a study of 100 MBA students. Participants were asked to rate how likely they were to use personal charm in negotiating situations. They were also asked to rate the effectiveness of their negotiating partner. Here are the results:
[S]elfreported reliance on social charm predicted effectiveness ratings by one’s negotiating counterpart, r(100) = .27, p < .01. However, this relationship was only significant for female negotiators, r(36) = .53, p < .01; for male negotiators, the relationship was not statistically significant, r(64) = .12, p = .34. … [F]emales appear to have benefited from the use of social charm whereas males neither benefited nor were harmed by the use of social charm.
This isn’t to say that men can’t be effective negotiators. Male and female participants were seen as being near equally effective in the study.
What it does suggest is that either (1) male charm is not effective in business negotiations or (2) men have a poor understanding of whether or not they are charming.
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