Initiating salary negotiations: a mixed-methods study into the effects of gender, shame and pay-raise justifications

Noa Nelson, Maor Kalfon Hakhmigari, Neta Horesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Based on gender role theory, this study aims to test a moderated mediation model in which gender, mediated by shame, affected salary negotiation initiation and writing pay raise justifications before the negotiation moderated gender effects, by boosting women’s negotiation initiation and lowering their shame. Design/methodology/approach: Mixed-methods approach: in a scenario experiment, participants (N = 172; 92 women) imagined initiating salary negotiations with real employers, and shame and the inclination to actually initiate the negotiation were measured. About half the sample wrote pay raise justifications as part of the task. In the qualitative phase of the study, justifications were analyzed. Findings: The model’s predictions were not supported. Women were neither less inclined to negotiate nor reported higher shame than men. Across gender, shame related to lower negotiation initiation and was alleviated by justifications’ preparation. Writing justifications did not affect men’s negotiation initiation, but lowered women’s. The qualitative analysis revealed that while all participants preferred communal themes in their justifications, women used themes of confidence, entitlement and power less than men. Originality/value: The study provides original evidence in negotiation literature, on the effects of shame, on the practice of preparing pay raise justifications and on specific patterns in justifications’ content.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-338
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Conflict Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - 10 Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Emotions in negotiation
  • Experimental negotiation research
  • Gender
  • Mixed-methods negotiation research
  • Negotiation initiation
  • Pay raise justifications
  • Qualitative negotiation research
  • Shame


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