Corporate transparency describes the extent to which a corporation's actions are observable by outsiders. This is a consequence of regulation, local norms, and the set of information, privacy, and business policies concerning corporate decision-making and operations openness to employees, stakeholders, shareholders and the general public. From the perspective of outsiders, transparency can be defined simply as the perceived quality of intentionally shared information from the corporation.
Recent research suggests there are three primary dimensions of corporate transparency: information disclosure, clarity, and accuracy. To increment transparency, corporations infuse greater disclosure, clarity, and accuracy into their communications with stakeholders. For example, governance decisions to voluntarily share information related to the firm's ecological impact with environmental activists indicate disclosure; decisions to actively limit the use of technical terminology, fine print, or complicated mathematical notations in the firm's correspondence with suppliers and customers indicate clarity; and decisions to not bias, embellish, or otherwise distort known facts in the firm's communications with investors indicate accuracy. The strategic management of transparency therefore involves intentional modifications in disclosure, clarity, and accuracy to accomplish the firm's objectives.
Standard & Poor's has included a definition of corporate transparency in its GAMMA Methodology aimed at analysis and assessment of corporate governance. As a part of this work, Standard & Poor's Governance Services publishes the Transparency Index which calculates the average score for the largest public companies in various countries.
Transparency International publishes an index of corporate transparency based on public disclosure of anti-corruption programmes and country-by-country reporting. Corporate transparency is also used to refer to radical transparency in corporate governance. Transparency Index calculated as the average score for the largest public companies in various countries.
- 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