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Transparency challenges

Transparency challenges

Anticipating expectations of company stakeholders with regard to information can bring considerable benefits. How to develop a culture of transparency?


Company stakeholders—employees, customers, shareholders and citizens—have high expectations in terms of transparency. Our environment no longer tolerates opacity. The retention, dissimulation and manipulation of information, which were practiced some decades ago, are henceforth considered unacceptable. Fresh scandals about production conditions or fraud concerning the origin of products, for example, regularly add to the pressure for greater transparency. Companies attempt to comply with new regulatory obligations, but this takes major effort, when one considers, for example, all that is required to align reporting systems with the SOX act.

Some companies have decided to go even further and put transparency at the heart of their company culture. At Dell, for example, employees are authorized to keep a personal blog where they can speak freely about the brand’s products. Unfettered by censorship or validation committees, these blogs are enthusiastically endorsed by current and potential customers for the sincerity of the comments and freedom of expression. Ultimately, employees feel respected, appreciate the trust placed in them and prove to be very good ambassadors of the brand. As for customers, they have access to sincere information, written by enthusiasts like them. Many companies dream of being able to establish such a community between their customers and their employees, but must not underestimate the effort required.

Introducing a true culture of transparency is demanding indeed. First of all, information control reflexes are well established at both the collective and individual level. How can one lift the obstacles to enable information to flow more freely? Moreover, transparency poses some real dilemmas. How does one manage confidentiality issues? Is it truly judicious to share information which could worry people unnecessarily? Evolving toward a culture of transparency requires much more than politically-correct watchwords and good intentions. It takes real willpower, bold choices, and particular attention to propagating the behaviors required to turn transparency into a real driver of trust and performance.

In this synopsis:
- Promote a culture of transparency
- Bet on transparency
- Welcome criticism



Synopsis n.225b