Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Teaching, Learning, and Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Louann Bierlein-Palmer


The salary equity gap continues to exist, with men earning more on average for every dollar a woman makes. Research suggests that women's underdevelopednegotiation skills play a role in the continuation of the salary equity gap. Understanding the negotiation strategies and gendered communications traits women utilize may assist in enhancing their skills and in moving toward gender salary equity.

This study addresses the negotiation strategies and gendered communication traits of female administrators in higher education. Twenty-two women inadministrative positions in institutions of higher education in West Michigan were interviewed to determine the strategies they utilized when negotiating forsalary and other forms of compensation. Study participants held mid- or executive-level administration positions, beginning with directors and above but did not include presidents or chancellors.

Key findings from the study indicated that the position a woman holds is more important than the compensation she receives. In addition, these women perceive that they do not negotiate, while men do. Findings also revealed that women do utilize effective negotiation strategies, but they do not necessarily utilize them to negotiate for salary. When they did negotiate, participants primarily used masculine traits. Responses from participants depicted both effective and ineffective salary negotiation strategies.

In summary, women possess the ability to negotiate but have not fully utilized these strategies to increase their salaries. They place a lower priority on salaryand often perceive negotiating in a negative manner. This, in turn, may negatively affect their ability to obtain increases in salary needed to decrease the salaryequity gap.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access