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Information Asymmetry

Should we share our salary with co-workers?

Information Asymmetry is a bit like playing poker. It's the ability to keep a straight face, and withhold information to your strategic advantage until which point you leverage the information against the other party. Blogging has done a lot in recent years to create more transparent communications for organizations but, often, especially with internal communications such practices of information asymmetry are embedded into the culture of the work environment.

One particular video takes on a humorous look at what would happen if we all shared our salaries and provides a general explanation of the practice of asymmetry with regards to internal communications.

If we understand that information has an inherent economic value and communications professionals are the guardians of such wealth, then we must ask is it truly more beneficial to exploit such imbalances or do organizations who practice such techniques, actually do themselves harm?

The answer is actually really simply. If an organization has sufficient trust  (reputation) with it's stakeholders, then asymmetrical communications can provide a competitive advantage for the firm. If this trust cannot be transferred, perceived or understood, then quite often we find that symmetrical communications, both internally and externally, are favorably with regards to the economics of information.

Why? Well, without a feedback loop for communicators to quantify their communications, it's quite possible that such practices could become antiquated in their effectiveness and result in long-term disadvantages as a consequence of not completely understanding the effects of such communication styles towards their audience. In the above example, this could relate to the long-term retention of talent or with external audiences, brand reputation and loss of trust.

Of course that still doesn't make any of us more likely to share our salary.

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