Feminine Charm

An Experimental Analysis of its Costs and Benefits in Negotiations
Published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
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In this research article, published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and written with Laura Kray and Alex Van Zant, Connson and her co-authors studied the effectiveness of flirtation as a negotiation technique.


The authors examined feminine charm, an impression management technique available to women that combines friendliness with flirtation. They asked whether feminine charm resolves the impression management dilemma facing women who simultaneously pursue task (i.e., economic) and social goals in negotiations. They compared women’s social and economic consequences after using feminine charm versus a neutral interaction style. They hypothesized that feminine charm would create positive impressions of its users, thus partially mitigating the social penalties women negotiators often incur. They also expected that the degree to which females were perceived as flirtatious (signaling a concern for self), rather than merely friendly (signaling a concern for other), would predict better economic deals for females. Hypotheses were supported across a correlational study and three experiments. Feminine charm has costs and benefits spanning economic and social measures. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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