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Information as a currency in business

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Access to information is essential in any dynamic business environment. And the value of any single item of information is consistent with the degree of exclusivity that knowing it presents. You can easily recognise this in the case an inside stock tip. If you are the only person who knows about a company’s earnings or a planned takeover before it is publicly announced, you can profit handsomely, albeit illegally. However, once “everyone” knows that news, the chance for profit is likely to diminish.

Nowadays, all of us are part of social networks which facilitate the flow of information among different groups of people. Our position or status within those networks directly affects the quality and quantity of information we potentially receive from others. In business, the higher you are, or the more influential you are perceived to be, the more people will want know you and keep you informed.

These individuals may be especially eager to pass on exclusive and, therefore, valuable information to you in order to win attention or gain favour. And in such instances, we can see that fame in the broadest sense does have some very tangible benefits and can contribute directly to ongoing success.

Dr Terrill L. Frantz

Assistant Professor of Management and Director of Global Development, Peking University

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