Is It OK To Flirt At Work?

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WBZ-TV's Kate Merrill Kate Merrill
Kate Merrill is an Emmy award winning journalist for WBZ-TV News. She...
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BOSTON (CBS) – It’s an eyebrow raising headline: flirting gets results for women.

According to a new study, it can give women the upper hand when it comes to negotiations.

UC Berkeley professor Laura Kray is the co-author of the study, which looks at the costs and benefits of so-called “feminine charm.”

Kray says, “to the degree that women are perceived as flirtatious, as opposed to merely friendly, they actually do better in negotiations.”

She found that flirting signals a sense of power.

One of the experiments was car buying. The women who were just being nice rarely got a discount. If they flirted, men gave the woman a deal, as much as 20-percent off.

Simmons College professor Paula Gutlove teaches MBA students the art of negotiating.

She tells her students women don’t need to flirt to get their way, “it’s manipulative, it’s not honest behavior and it really devalues and demeans women.”

But even in 2012, is it a necessary evil?

Kray says “being in the driver’s seat with a little bit of flirtation, a little bit of playfulness, a little bit of flattery can mitigate obstacles that women face.”

And Kray argues it may even give women an advantage over men.

Gutlove disagrees.

“What we want to do is empower women. To bring their talents and capabilities to the table. We don’t want to go back to the 50’s.”

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