Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 2013


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Instructional Leadership Excellence (ILEAD)


School of Education

Committee Chair

James Schreiber

Committee Member

Amy Phelps

Committee Member

James Ditmar

Committee Member

Marick Masters

Committee Member

Gibbs Kanyongo


Ask, Factor, Gender wage gap, Model, Negotiation, Women


It has long been suspected that the general reluctance of women to negotiate their salaries may be one factor that contributes to the gender wage gap. While there has been significant research on the reasons for this reticence to ask for more money, there has been no prior exploration of the reasons why women might be reluctant to avail themselves of opportunities to learn how.

The intent of this mixed methodology study was to explore male and female graduate students' feelings about negotiation in general, and willingness to study negotiation in particular, and to identify those attitudes and beliefs that might serve to inhibit them from enrolling in elective coursework designed to improve their negotiating skills.

Because this study focused primarily on women's feelings about negotiation, a literature review of prior research on women and negotiation was conducted and from this analysis four primary beliefs, along with twenty-one underlying attitudes about negotiation, emerged. This list was used to construct a hypothesized model that attempted to explain the reasons behind men and women's reluctance to study negotiation. An on-line survey based on the model was then administered to over 1100 male and female graduate students enrolled in twenty-two top-ranked U.S. graduate schools of public policy.

Using confirmatory factor analysis, the model was tested for goodness of fit and found to be acceptable. Results confirmed previously assumed notions that doubts about usefulness, the need to maintain interpersonal relationships, an external locus of control, and concerns about what might be expected of them in class serve as the primary demotivators to enrollment in this coursework. In further support of the model, seventeen of the twenty-one attitudes were shown to correlate with women's non-enrollment, as opposed to thirteen for the men. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for public policy and education, a deeper understanding of the reasons for underrepresentation of females in certain fields of study, and suggestions for future research.