Skip to main content

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.





Popular posts from this blog

Food Lion: Saying One Thing and Doing Another

Something strange is going on, something's wrong at my local grocer store, a Food Lion. The deli and bakery are missing. Rumors are flying around town as to what's happening. Did the snow storm crush the roof? Is it water damage or is there something more mysterious? As it happens, it's nothing more than continued renovations of the store... but no one told the customers.

In a world of communications where transparency is often the only thing holding your reputation together, not telling the customers anything seems like a little bit of deception. More importantly, why not tell the customers of your super cool improvements coming their way? Before the local townspeople crack completely at their inability to purchase their sliced bologna, I have to wonder if this is poor public relations or something more.

Food Lion is selling it to the media in larger markets (where curious journalists have reached out to the company's media relations) as:
The remodels are part of Foo…

Does Christmas Music Increase Sales?

I'm sitting in a restaurant on Sunday and the music playing over the speakers is a rather obnoxious blend of no name Christmas songs. Playing were knockoff versions of classic songs to deliver us into the spirit of the Holidays, but for myself, it made me want to leave. As I shoveled food into my mouth as quickly as I could, I contemplated that there are likely some people who absolutely hate Christmas and that they find themselves living in complete Hell for about two to three months out of every year. What might seem as blasphemy for those who live in North Pole, Alaska or Santa Clause, Indiana (yes they do exist), is likely Guantanamo style torture for my waitress. There's even a top ten most annoying Christmas song list with Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer topping the charts. I'll admit, perhaps moving Christmas to a leap year schedule would increase the nostalgia for myself. Christmas seems to come too soon these day and there's a reason I feel this way. Busin…

Pepsi Max rebrands itself as Pepsi Zero.

Pepsi Max was designed around the height of Energy Drinks and aimed at the male demographic (aged 20-40) because it was mostly a female demo that drank diet drinks. They even used Jeff Gordan (Nascar driver) as a spokesperson to gain the attention of rugged, testosterone filled guys. It seemed like a good idea. However, with cola sales in decline Pepsi has decided to rebrand Pepsi Max as Pepsi Zero Sugar. The branding still includes "maximum taste" on the can, but clearly they've shifted gears. At least, here in America.

Ironically, while the brand Pepsi Max has struggled with consumers in the U.S., in the European market the brand has outsold it's traditional Pepsi products to become the focus of the company's attention. Yet the market seems to constantly misunderstand Pepsi's message when it comes to branding the product. Often they're giving away cans of Pepsi Max in city centres in Europe with "educators" to spread the gospel of zero calor…