Do Women Accommodate More Than Men? Gender Differences in Perceived Social Support and Negotiation Behavior by Spanish and Dutch Worker Representatives

Abstract

Historically, the role of worker representatives (WRs) is traditionally perceived as masculine. With an increasing participation of women in the workforce, the number of female WRs grows all over Europe. WRs’ main task is to negotiate on behalf of the constituency. We explore how male and female WRs perceive support from their constituency and how this perceived support is related to their negotiation behavior. We test hypotheses about the impact of gender and societal culture on perceived support and accommodating behavior in negotiations. The hypotheses are tested using a quantitative approach among 219 female and 495 male WRs in Spain and 166 female and 398 male WRs in the Netherlands. Following the research question there was no evidence indicating gender differences in accommodating behavior. Results show that a) WRs accommodate less to management in Spain than in the Netherlands; b) female WRs perceive less social support than their male counterparts in Spain, but not in the Netherlands; c) social support is negatively related to accommodating behavior only for female WRs in Spain, but not in the Netherlands. We discuss theoretical and practical implications.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the editor, special issue editors and the anonymous reviewers of this journal for the helpful comments in an earlier version of this manuscript.

The authors would like to thank Aukje Nauta for her valuable contributions to the research project and Erica R. Pender for her editing work.

This study was partially funded by the European Commission: Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities DG (Project Ref. VS/2010/0,376; VS/2012/0,416) and by the Spanish Ministry of Science (Project Ref. PSI 2008/00,503; PSI 2011/29,256).

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Appendix

Appendix

Table 5 Scales items as administered in the Netherlands and Spain translated to English

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Elgoibar, P., Munduate, L., Medina, F.J. et al. Do Women Accommodate More Than Men? Gender Differences in Perceived Social Support and Negotiation Behavior by Spanish and Dutch Worker Representatives. Sex Roles 70, 538–553 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-014-0378-4

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Keywords

  • Worker representatives
  • Gender
  • Perceived social support
  • Accommodating behavior
  • Negotiation