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Transparency in Organizations

Transparency is defined as the availability of group specific information to those outside of the group (Bushman, Piotroski, and Smith, 2003). Organizational transparency is when the organizations information is produced, gathered, validated, or disseminated to outside participants (Bushman, Piotroski, and Smith, 2003). Transparency can allow for businesses and individuals to get speedier feedback on products and services (Bennis, 2013). Stakeholders have a right to information concerning the company, brand, and potentially stocks. Transparent organizations allow for stakeholders to gain proper insight into the workings and issues that are relevant (Dubbink, Graafland, & Liedekerke, 2008). Transparency is beneficial for companies in that it helps them to distinguish themselves from similar companies by enhancing innovation (Dubbink, Graafland, & Liedekerke, 2008). Being transparent and informing consumers and partners of important business aspects can be seen as an ethical approach (Dubbink, Graafland, & Liedekerke, 2008). For a leader, being transparent creates trust, honesty, accountability, and responsibility (Dubbink, Graafland, & Liedekerke, 2008). Morally, transparency is important considering it can affect personal integrity, attitude, and organizational commitment (Dubbink, Graafland, & Liedekerke, 2008).

An example of a transparent organization is the travel agency, which moved from traditional travel agencies to online digital offerings. As an online organization, prices, reservations, itineraries, suppliers, and competitive disadvantages became transparent and disrupted traditional sales and business (Granados, & Gupta, 2013). With technology and the internet, business transparency is crucial and business leaders need to understand the power in which transparency enables loyal followers (Bennis, 2013; Dubbink, Graafland, & Liedekerke, 2008). Using digital networks as a transparent company generates sales for new and potential consumers who desire unbiased information and offerings from all vendors (Granados, & Gupta, 2013).

Complete transparency, however, has its setbacks. Companies could lose freedom, secrets, and privacy because of this. Being transparent could conflict with leaders’ moral principles (Dubbink, Graafland, & Liedekerke, 2008). If companies are transparent, consumers can gain knowledge and shared information about products that are available (Dubbink, Graafland, & Liedekerke, 2008). Digital transparency also effects competition as businesses can view, compare, and match competitor prices to their advantage (Granados, & Gupta, 2013). Full transparency may distract consumers and stakeholders from focusing on more important items and information (Dubbink, Graafland, & Liedekerke, 2008). If a company desires to become transparent, it should respect the freedom of both stakeholders and individuals (Dubbink, Graafland, & Liedekerke, 2008).

 

Credits

Bennis, W. (2013). Leadership in a digital world: embracing transparency and adaptive capacity. MIS Quarterly, 37(2), 635-636. Retrieved from http://misq.org

Bushman, Robert M. and Piotroski, Joseph D. and Smith, Abbie J., What Determines Corporate Transparency? (April 2003). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=428601 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.428601

Dubbink, W., Graafland, J., & Liedekerke, L. (2008). CSR, Transparency and the Role of Intermediate Organisations. Journal Of Business Ethics, 82(2), 391-406. doi:10.1007/s10551-008-9893-y

Granados, N., & Gupta, A. (2013). Transparency strategy: competing with information in a digital world. MIS Quarterly, 37(2), 637-641. Retrieved from http://misq.org

Relevance Transparency & Usability

I just got back from Bali, and took some time while on vacation to look at why websites blow. Now as I watched them drive on the left side of the road in Bali, it made me wonder why some many websites are on the left side of the Web rather than the right side of the Web. It’s not as if websites mean to drive on the wrong side of the www, but so many sites do. Take for instance a site that is loaded up with what the site owner wants. Oh, it maybe riveting; however, reality meets fallacy. So how does a website get on the right side of the Web?

  • Fulfill what the visitor is searching for
  • Path the website’s purpose (meaning make a purchase, a signup, a phone call, produce a lead…)

In other words, website content has to crisscross a visitor’s perception that meets their quest.

Another detail deals with fitting the reason why your website was pulled. The person is expecting it to be their solution. So why is it then that so many damn websites not communicate what they are about? This made me go back and even look at a website that sells high-end animal houses. What I’m confused about is if it’s actually a blog or a retail site. Guess that’s why I have not purchased anything. Break it all down and you have an unusable website.

The moral of the story here:

  • Don’t make me think
  • Don’t make me leave your website
  • Don’t play stupid music
  • Don’t have pop-ups or pop-unders
  • Don’t bore me with your stupid videos
  • Don’t have that person popping up (what is that about?)
  • Don’t have your font so small that it takes a magnifying glass to read
  • Don’t have your keywords so stuffed that it reads like garble goop
  • Don’t make your website out of flash
  • And for dog’s sake make that website mobile optimized

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