Transparency is a general quality. It can be defined simply as "the perceived quality of intentionally shared information from a sender". In social enterprises, it is influenced by the set of policies, practices and procedures that allow citizens to have accessibility, usability, utility, understandability, informativeness and auditability of information held by centers of authority.
Transparency has been, for long, a general requirement for democratic societies. The right to be informed and to have access to the information has been an important issue on modern societies.
Organizational transparency (for stakeholders)
Transparency in organizations is often discussed in the context of ethics and the value of truth. Transparency is often analyzed as the quality of information the organization shares with its stakeholders. Among other things, stakeholders carry an interest in transparency to disentangle whether the organization's activities are consistent with social interests or otherwise ethical.
In the organization sciences, research suggests there are three primary aspects of transparency: information disclosure, clarity, and accuracy. To increment transparency, organizations infuse greater disclosure, clarity, and accuracy into their communications with stakeholders. For example, organizations that voluntarily share information related to the firm's ecological impact with environmental activists are demonstrating disclosure; organizations that limit the use of technical terminology, fine print, or complicated mathematical notations in their correspondence with suppliers and customers are demonstrating clarity; and organizations that do not bias, embellish, or otherwise distort known facts in their communications with investors are demonstrating accuracy. The strategic management of transparency therefore involves intentional modifications in disclosure, clarity, and accuracy to accomplish the organization's objectives.
Target transparency (for consumers)
According to Fung et al., “target transparency aims to reduce specific risks or performance problems through selective disclosure by corporations and other organizations. The ingeniousness of target transparency lies in its mobilization of individual choice, market forces, and participatory democracy through relatively light-handed government action.”
Social transparency (for citizens)
Social transparency allows citizens to be more informed and encourages the disclosure as a regulation mechanism of centers of authority. It is based on ethics and governance, where the interests and needs are focused in the citizen.
- Schnackenberg, A., Tomlinson, E., 2014. Organizational Transparency: A New Perspective on Managing Trust in Organization-Stakeholder Relationships. Journal of Management DOI: 10.1177/0149206314525202. http://jom.sagepub.com/content/early/recent
- What is the informativeness principle?
- Henriques A., Corporate Truth The Limits to Transparency, Earthscan, UK, 2007.
- Fung A., Graham M., Weil D., "Full Disclosure: the Perils and Promise of Transparency", Cambridge University Press, 2007..
- Scope of Transparency
- B. Holzner & L. Holzner (2006). Transparency in Global Change: The Vanguard of the Open Society (1st ed.). University of Pittsburgh Press.
- Lord, K. M. (2006). The Perils and Promise of Global Transparency. State University of New York Press.
- Software Transparency. Business & Information Systems Engineering 2(3): 127-139 (2010)
- Transparency versus security: early analysis of antagonistic requirements. SAC 2010: 298-305
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