Do nice guys—and gals—really finish last? “If you’re a disagreeable man, you’re considered a tough negotiator,” says University of Notre Dame Management Professor Timothy Judge."But, the perception is that if a woman is agreeable, she gets taken advantage of, and if she is disagreeable, she’s considered a control freak or ‘the B-word.’”
Judge, the Franklin D. Schurz Professor of Management in Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business; Beth Livingston from Cornell University; and Charlice Hurst of the University of Western Ontario, document the effects of gender and “agreeableness” in their study, “Do Nice Guys—and Gals—Really Finish Last? The Joint Effects of Sex and Agreeableness on Income.”
The study shows a strong negative relationship between agreeableness and earnings for men. The more agreeable a man is, the less he will earn. For women, there is essentially no relationship at all. Regardless, they earn less than men.
So, what recourse is there for women?
“There’s a difference between disagreeing and being disagreeable,” Judge says. “So, I think women should not compromise and, in fact, it’s even more important for them to be aggressive in what they ask for. I tell negotiation students they need to ask for what they want to the point of ridiculousness. People think there are long-term consequences to asking for too much at work, and I don’t think there’s any evidence of that.