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Prior research suggests that female negotiators often obtain worse outcomes than male negotiators. The current research examines whether this pattern extends to the large subset of men and women who identify as gays and lesbians. In particular, we interweave scholarship on gender stereotypes with work on intersectionality and MOSAIC theory to develop a theoretical model that anticipates how male and female negotiators will be treated at the bargaining table based on whether they are perceived to be heterosexual or homosexual. This model predicts that homosexual women, like heterosexual men, will receive more beneficial negotiation offers and outcomes than heterosexual women and homosexual men. Additionally, it suggests that this will happen because people hold markedly different behavioral expectations for male and female heterosexual and homosexual negotiators. The results of five experimental and audit studies involving diverse samples of participants including Masters Students in the U.S. and India, individuals selling items on Craigslist, and street vendors in India provide robust support. Collectively, these findings highlight the importance of considering gender and sexual orientation in tandem when studying negotiation.
This seminar is organized by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) and co-sponsored by the Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School, which is an inter-university consortium among Harvard, MIT and Tufts, dedicated to connecting rigorous research and scholarship with deep understanding of practice.
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Sreedhari Desai researches how individuals behave in organizations, with a focus on ethical decision making, fairness and gender diversity. In her work related to gender diversity, she explores the influence of traditional marriage structures on egalitarian attitudes toward working women. Across all these projects Dr. Desai relies on carefully designed laboratory experiments paired with real-world data in her exploration of answers.
Her work has been published in the Administrative Science Quarterly, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. It has received extensive media coverage, including Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, The Times of India, The Toronto Star, Les Affaires and the Gao Kao.
Dr. Desai was previously a research fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and a fellow at the Women and Public Policy program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Prior to joining UNC Kenan-Flagler, she was a research fellow in the Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation.
She has received several grants and fellowships, including a Research Initiative Grant from the National Stock Exchange of Mumbai, India, and the Mariner S. Eccles Fellowship in Political Economy at the University of Utah. She received her PhD in organizational behavior from the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business. She has an MS in finance from the University of Utah, and a BS in metallurgical engineering from the Punjab Engineering College in Chandigarh, India.