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Promoting a culture of transparency

Promoting a culture of transparency

Companies are supposed to be transparent. However, applying this principle is harder than it seems. What skills to develop to resolve the dilemmas of transparency?

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The scandals that have shaken the corporate world in recent years have made transparency a hot topic. As lawmakers, special interest groups, shareholders, customers and employees demand stricter accountability, many companies are overhauling their reporting and governance systems.

Yet, transparency is more than a matter of procedures or organization. Whether or not an organization is perceived as open and honest effectively depends on how individuals in that organization behave every day. In consequence, for a company to be truly committed to transparency, a profound cultural transformation is often required. However, problems and issues start emerging at this point. What type of behavior should the organization concretely encourage from employees? Should people really say everything they know in every situation? What should people do if the call for transparency seems to run counter to the interests of the company?

To effectively promote a culture of transparency, four skills appear to be particularly important to develop within the organization:

– Instill the trust required to build credibility with others.

– Accept that everything cannot be said and clearly delineate what must remain confidential.

– Communicate tactfully to ensure that transparency does not do more harm than good.

– Behave in ways that encourage others to be more open with the information they possess.

Synthèse n°136a

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