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Law study looks at gender differences in negotiation ethics


August 08, 2012

A study by clinical professor Art Hinshaw on attorney negotiation ethics, through the gender lens, recently was published in the Washington University Journal of Law and Policy.

“Gender and Attorney Negotiation Ethics,” co-authored with Jess K. Alberts, an ASU President’s Professor of Human Communication, builds on her and Hinshaw’s prior study which found that a surprising number of attorneys would agree to engage in a fraudulent negotiation scheme if asked by a client to do so.

This new study finds no difference in responses of men and women asked to engage in a fraudulent negotiation strategy. However, Hinshaw and Alberts did find a difference in responses to a follow-up request that they employ a more subtle form of fraudulent negotiation strategy, a pure omission.

“Unexpectedly, the men performed better than women,” the authors wrote. “Additionally, the men performed better than women when asked whether the client’s initial request constituted a misrepresentation and whether a key fact was protected from disclosure by the Rules of Professional Conduct.”

The article suggests factors leading to the differences, such as the manner in which women and men organize information when making decision, and differences in how they respond in ambiguous ethical situations and how they advocate for others.

To read the article, click here.

Hinshaw is director of the Lodestar Dispute Resolution Program at the College of Law. His research and teaching interests lie in the field of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).  Hinshaw’s research bridges ADR theory and practice, and his teaching responsibilities include the Lodestar Mediation Clinic and Negotiation, among other ADR courses.