Wider Face May Give You an Edge in Negotiations

TUESDAY, July 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Successful negotiations may depend on more than diplomacy. When it comes to negotiating, men with wider faces may have an advantage, according to a new study.

Researchers found men with a broader face are more successful when negotiating for themselves than men with narrower faces.

However, having a wider facer may not be an asset when negotiations require collaboration and compromise, the researchers found.

"We negotiate every day whether we think about it or not. It's not just the big things, like a car or a home. It's what time your kid is going to go to bed or what you or your spouse are going to have for dinner," said study co-author Michael Haselhuhn, assistant professor of management at the University of California, Riverside's School of Business Administration.

"These studies show that being a man with a wider face can be both a blessing and a curse, and awareness of this may be important for future business success," he added.

In order to examine how men's psychological or physical differences affect the outcome of negotiations, the researchers set up four negotiation simulations. The results were published online July 16 in The Leadership Quarterly.

In the first scenario, the researchers found that men with wider faces successfully negotiated a $2,200 larger signing bonus than men with a narrower face.

In the second situation, men with wider faces were able to negotiate a higher sale price for a chemical plant than men with a narrower face, the investigators found. And when the tables were turned and the wider-faced men were buying the chemical plant, they negotiated a lower price than the more narrow-faced men.

The third scenario involved finding a creative solution to close a real estate transaction. The men were grouped into teams of two. This time, the teams of men with wider faces had less successful negotiations, the study revealed.

The third scenario was repeated, but the researchers used a series of questions to assess the attractiveness and beauty of the men and paired them accordingly. This time, the more attractive men were more successful in the real estate negotiation.

While the study establishes an association between physical attributes and successful negotiations, it doesn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

More information

The Association for Psychological Science has more about why appearance matters.

SOURCE: University of California, Riverside, news release, July 22, 2014