Conflicts in workplace caused by information asymmetry | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 19, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 19, 2019

Conflicts in workplace caused by information asymmetry

And ways of resolving them

What is information asymmetry?

Information asymmetry can be somewhat referred to as a sort of information gap between two parties. This can give birth to conflicts and affect your workplace relationships when you and your boss do not share the same amount of expertise or ideas regarding some aspects of the projects that you are working on together. A common example of this can be digital marketing. While millennials are expected to have a better idea of managing social media marketing or campaigns, their senior bosses might not be on the same page when it comes to managing social media. This can cause differences in opinions while executing a certain job, which can in turn affect decision-making. In firms or organisations where a strict hierarchy is maintained, it might not be comfortable at all for the juniors to share better ideas to deliver the work in an efficient way.

Problems of information asymmetry

Information asymmetry can cause other problems as well when the bosses do not have proper knowledge or information regarding their sub-ordinates’ capabilities and competencies. Information gap can make them overestimate the competency of one group while underestimating that of the others. This can bring a negative impact on the work distribution as the employees are not assigned to works on which they have better ideas and understanding.

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The silver lining

Anisur Rahman Tanzil, who is currently working as a Junior Executive at Mindscape Communications, thinks that the problems above are among the common inconveniences that junior employees go through at their workplaces. However, sometimes it can prove to be beneficial as well. He says from his personal experience, “I work at a communication agency where my job most of the time is to set strategies for contents and campaigns. So, when it comes to executing those strategies, I sometimes feel that I have a better idea on the execution of the work than my boss does. It can be frustrating at times, but in most cases I try to take it positively. I think this discourse can bring about positive impact on your work when you can share your vision freely.”

The right approach and knowing when to stop

Communication is the key when it comes to resolving the conflicts that arise from these sorts of asymmetries. While your approach on the issue to your bosses needs modesty, it also has to be as straight-forward as possible. Tanzil says, “Straight-forward approaches might not be feasible in an organisation maintaining strict hierarchy. But for me, it’s always better to try and generate a discourse as soon as there is some sort of miscommunication or misconception.”

Knowing when to stop persuading your bosses with your ideas is another key aspect. Experiences can make your bosses certain on some issues that might not be understandable to you at that point of time. Tanzil shares his opinion on this, “There are certain situations where both the parties feel that they are right on a certain issue. I think in that case, it’s good to take a back seat after having tried enough to convince your bosses. I personally value the experience of an individual a lot more in these situations.”

Starting frank and healthy discourses

Early approaches in the right way can save a lot of inconveniences in this case. So wasting your time hesitating might not be a good option at all, as delaying might make the situation even more complicated.

Proper research can take you way ahead while pursuing your cause. Your bosses might lack the time or patience needed to listen to your entire case. Their reaction might not be considering at all. Try to do your own research and gather information or data that can back your case in front of your bosses. In the end, the right information or examples can help you in forming a constructive argument in your favour.

There is no denying in this case that a healthy and frank conversation between the parties can be efficient in resolving the conflicts. It can be really fruitful, as it increases the flexibility in the respective visions of both parties and prepares them to accept consequences that can be different from their expectations. This always leaves space for better learning opportunities.


Nahaly Nafisa Khan is an Economics major, currently studying in Dhaka University. She procrastinates a lot, yet is obsessed with meeting deadlines. You can reach her at

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