The Telegraph recently posted an article about how if women use flirtatious behavior while doing business, they will have positive results. Researchers from UC Berkeley and University College London conducted a test in which 100 participants were polled on their reliance on charm while doing business negotiations. The results found that women who flirted during these negotiations achieved more favorable results than those who try to appear tough. In a second experiment, the volunteers were asked to imagine a scenario in which they are selling a car, and how much they would ask for it. They were asked to imagine two situations, one in which the woman selling the car is warm and flirtatious, and another where they are colder and more stern. The study found that more affectionate women could sell the car for less. In contrast, a study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that men who utilize their charm in business situations with the opposite sex perform no better than women who use the same technique.
The results of this test makes sense, although their would be more effective ways to carry out the experiment. It appears to have been a descriptive study, in which people were simply asked to imagine certain scenarios or report how they acted in certain situations of their past. These tests are tricky because people cannot be trusted to tell the truth, and will usually modify their response if they know they are part of an experiment. A correlational or even an experimental study of some sort would have gained more reliable information on the topic. If successful women were studied concerning how they got to their positions of power, this could be an effective correlational study. An experimental study in which men were tricked into thinking they were interviewing two different woman, one flirtatious and one with a more cold demeanor, this could have had interesting and telling results.
Nevertheless, this topic of this study is fairly important. Gender equality in high-paid jobs seems to be on the rise, but how the women get these jobs seems to be overlooked. It does not surprise me that women who are more flirtatious achieve better results, this seems to be a real world truth that many people have accepted. Men react well to women who they think are interested in them. Men do the same thing to women, and it is how a lot networking goes down in the business world.
Personally, I am not sure how to react to these results. They seems pretty obvious, but I wonder if the results would anger anyone. I think it is hard to draw the line between confidence and the ability to talk comfortably and flirting. We live in a very shallow world, and what is perceived flirting can be many different scenarios between genders. What one person could consider flirting, another person may not. When does flirting in a business environment become unprofessional? There are so many variables, but it seems apparent that when business takes place between genders, men will react more favorably to women who seem interested in them.