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Can you refer us to any research to read on the value of pay transparency? Thanks.

I found these journal articles to be helpful:

Marasai & Bennet (2016). Pay communication: Where do we go from here?, Human Resource Management Review, 26, 50-58.

Risher (2014). Pay transparency is coming, Compensation and Benefits Review, 46, 3-5.

Margaret is right. Pay that is not openly defended will be assumed to be unfair. Denying access to information perpetuates indefensible bias and improper imbalances. Keeping pay-setting procedures secret makes a lie out of claims of reliance on "the free and open competitive market." Anything hidden from sight is neither free nor open.

Pay at the very top of public companies is completely disclosed; pay in the public sector is completely disclosed; hourly pay in virtually all settings is either implicitly or explicitly disclosed.

So what, exactly, is the point of pay secrecy for below C-Level salaried employees in the private sector?

The lack of transparency in pay, is kind of like the old saying "You don't want to see how sausage is made." (even if you love a good sausage)

We try hard to balance internal equity, survey data, a myriad of pay programs, poor or inconsistent performance management, rogue managers and locations, dubious algorithms and subtle bumps up and down that are driven by good and bad things no wants to speak about publicly.

All of this with the goal of have some type of defensible pay.

For transparency to really work, survey data would need to be far less of a secret black magic box of information. Comp pros would need to be better (or, more like have more staff members) in order to provide easily understood pay decisions, rather than just defensible decisions.

I work with several companies who practice open book management and have transparency in pay and nearly everything, It is hard to get used to not wearing the clothes that have hidden (or so we believe) our flaws. But, in the end it really shouldn't be that traumatic.

Power is behind it. Anything voluntarily disclosed reduces the power of secretive people. Managerial discretion would be challenged if/when feeble excuses or nonsensical reasons are offered for pay decisions.

The fact that they SHOULD be challenged is missed by many senior executives who are afraid to admit their own personal inability to comprehend or explain the actual pay-setting rules in place by HR/compensation types. Even when the practices are valid, consistent and proper per the relevant strategic policy directives, most managers prefer to punt rather than confess "I don't know."

Those organizations that practice pay transparency communicate with a capital C. They always invest a tremendous amount of time and attention in buttressing their procedures, explaining, training and communicating the messages with integrity.

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