California Management Review
California Management Review is a premier academic management journal published at UC Berkeley
by Roy Suddaby and Rajat Panwar
Image Credit | Noah Usry
Corporate transparency is an aspirational ideal that is very difficult to achieve because organizations can never be completely transparent. As a result, effective management of transparency requires managers to carefully balance transparency with the need for secrecy. This article describes the complex nature of transparency and demonstrates how attempts to balance transparency with secrecy result in three different kinds of transparency—rationalized, ceremonial, and decontextualized. Effective transparency management requires managers to avoid simply dumping information, use new technology strategically, engage their audiences creatively, avoid overpromising and underdelivering, and attend carefully to how transparency is measured.