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Can Gender-Disposed Personality Traits Explain Who Initiates Negotiations?

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In the professional world, there remains an obvious gender wage gap, partly because men ask for raises more often and in greater increments than women (Babcock et al., in Den De Cremer M, Zeelenberg, Murnighan JK (eds), Social psychology and economics, pp. 239–262, Erlbaum, 2006). In the current study, we seek to extend the literature on individual differences and negotiation by testing theory regarding how dispositional traits—namely Big Five subfacet personalities—may contribute to salary negotiation initiation. In summary, we found that women are generally higher in politeness and compassion than men, but neither of these personality traits were related to the propensity to initiate a negotiation. Rather, assertiveness was positively related to initiating negotiations. We also found evidence supporting the hypothesis that women are less likely to initiate a negotiation, but that this gender difference only exists with male supervisors.

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This work was partially supported by National Science Foundation Grant #1853528 to Rice University.

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Correspondence to Denise L. Reyes.

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Appendix: Study Materials

Participant Resume Material

2.1 Resume

502 Main St., Orlando, FL 32,824.

Phone: 407–575-5554 E-Mail:


3.1 University of Miami 2007

Bachelor of Science Degree in Ecology, minor in Business (GPA of 3.6).

Bay High School 2003

Graduated with high honors (GPA of 3.75) and was a member of Alpha Chi National Honors Society and Key Club.


5.1 Environmentl Answers Company (EAC) 2007—Present

5.1.1 Senior Project Ecologist (2014 – Present)

  • Project Manager for the Sandy Creek project. This project involved coordinating a multidisciplinary team for GIS landscape analysis as well as field work and documentation of the biodiversity of Sandy Creek watershed of the Bay County region, FL.

  • Participated as a team member in other program projects including: vernal pool survey and Department of Transportation natural community re-mapping.

  • Coordinated multidisciplinary teams for grant writing and project reports to insure timely submittal of all materials.

Project Ecologist (2011–2014)

  • Participated in implementing environmental protection plan for gopher tortoises, nesting bird conservation, and wetland delineations from the Alabama border to central Florida.

  • Used knowledge of gopher tortoise burrow construction, bird species identification (by both sight and sound), and wetland versus upland plant species to complete survey projects.

  • Worked independently and with colleague teams on multiple projects, showing my abilities to make decisions and execute tasks on my own and take direction from coworkers to complete assigned tasks.

Staff Ecologist (2007–2011)

  • Conducted water quality surveys, plant surveys, fish surveys, macroinvertebrate surveys, and soil sampling.

  • Prepared field reports, coordinated student volunteers, and managed remote sensing equipment.

  • Managed data entry, data analysis, and co-authored technical reports and findings.

Volunteer Service

8.1 Environmental Action Team

Environmental Education Volunteer (3 h/week) (2007–2014).

  • Taught 1st–4th graders about ecological concepts related to gardening.

  • Served as mentor to high school student volunteers.

  • Arranged meaningful conservation biology field experiences for students interested in pursuing a career in the natural sciences.

Interview Preparation Material.

Interview Preparation

9.1 Job Description

An Environmental Department Manager with a focus in Wetlands, strives to lead both their team and their profits. They have extensive experience both in the field as well as in the office as they handle the “business” side of environmental services. Engineers, scientists, technicians, and project managers look to them for mentoring both technically and in building client relationships. They know how to set the bar high and not only achieve that goal—but bring others along with them. They are extremely hard working and strive to ensure that their team delivers the best quality. They get the “big picture” and want to contribute accordingly.


You will be part of a dynamic, growing and energized team—and your role is key to the success of Environmental Awareness Company (EAC). While your job duties may fluctuate day to day, we expect you be proficient in:

  • Serving as mentor and leader of Florida’s Ecological Conservation Team

  • Ensuring proper training and development of team members

  • Conducting and managing wetland and natural resource projects

  • Being intimately familiar with Federal and State wetlands regulations and guidelines

  • Understanding the regulatory/permitting/mitigation process

  • Managing projects, generating proposals, developing new business, and managing client relationships

  • Performing endangered species surveys


If you can accomplish the above, your boots are probably ready for walking right into this role. Realistically though, you need the following to be considered:

  • BS in Biology, Ecology, Botany, Geology, Environmental Science, or a related field; MS preferred

  • 10+ years of natural resources/wetlands delineation/endangered species experience

  • Relationships held with regulatory agencies would go a long way

Salary Offer: Male Boss Condition.

figure a

Salary Offer: Female Boss Condition.

figure b

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Reyes, D.L., Dinh, J. & Salas, E. Can Gender-Disposed Personality Traits Explain Who Initiates Negotiations?. Group Decis Negot 30, 1057–1083 (2021).

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