Transparency increases negotiation initiation likelihood when it is fair

  • Tamara Montag-Smit (University of Massachusetts Lowell)
  • Cassondra Batz-Barbarich (Lake Forest College)
  • Karoline Evans (University of Massachusetts Lowell)
  • Ursula Sanborn-Overby (SUNY Oneonta)


The willingness to initiate negotiation – asking for what one deserves – has great potential reward for the initiator, including higher wages and benefits. Yet, the majority of people, especially women, are hesitant to initiate a negotiation. The current research tests transparency as a potential mechanism for increasing negotiation initiation when deserved, especially for women who have historically been less likely to initiate negotiation compared to men. Across two complementary studies (lab-based experiment with students, online scenario-based experiment with a general population of adults), results support the expectation that transparency increases the desire to negotiate when a negotiation is warranted because the amount offered is lower than the amount deserved (i.e., perceived negative discrepancy). In addition, this leads to greater likelihood of negotiation initiation. Transparency was equally beneficial for women and men and no sex differences were found across the conditions of secrecy and transparency. Thus, the results support the benefits of transparency, but transparency was not particularly beneficial for women, because women and men were equally likely to negotiate across conditions. While transparency may not “level the playing field” for women specifically, it does create a fair playing field for everyone where those that were most deserving (high negative discrepancy) negotiated for it.

Keywords: negotiation, negotiation initiation, transparency, performance-based pay, equity, gender

How to Cite:

Montag-Smit, T. & Batz-Barbarich, C. & Evans, K. & Sanborn-Overby, U., (2024) “Transparency increases negotiation initiation likelihood when it is fair”, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research 17(1), 1-40. doi:




Published on
10 Mar 2024
Peer Reviewed