Status Begets Status | Author: Megan Mizar

Much has been published about the importance of negotiation and how women’s reluctance to negotiate (when compared to men) may leave $1 – $1.5 million of cash on the table over a lifetime. Recent research by Professor Emily Amanatullah of University of Texas at Austin and Professor Catherine Tinsley of Georgetown University illustrates more alarming news: even for women who do negotiate, those with a lower status are less likely to receive a raise and more likely to fall victim to social backlash. “Social disincentives,” as they’re coined, refer to the backlash women receive when initiating a seemingly self-interested raise request. For women, the mere act of asking for a raise is seen as running against established gender norms, now found to be complicated by status.

The good news is that women with a higher status may be able to hedge against these negative ramifications. Compared with men who were shown to have similar success rates regardless of status, this is an issue worth discussing. However, this can present a Catch-22 for those of us women who are working our ways through the ranks but have not yet arrived at the top.

Not to mention that even achieving a high status for women to begin with is difficult as the grit, assertiveness, and outspokenness often required of women leads to negative perceptions by their co-workers and makes the road to the top that much more challenging.

We can take action by keeping track of our accomplishments while working so that when we decide to ask for a promotion, we have a record to present. Start today by keeping a weekly log on your desktop of the week’s achievements and creating a file in your email inbox to sort complementary emails from coworkers that can be called upon for support. Supervisors can take action by placing value on demonstrated performance and future potential, and being less persuaded by current title, reporting line, or other status signals.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of resources – regardless of ascribed status.

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