Transparency is (full) disclosure in corporate governance

Palgrave (2020)
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Abstract

Corporate disclosure and reporting of information has become synonymous with transparency which in discourses idealising its value is part of the rhetoric of good governance. This notion is overtly conveyed in principles and codes of corporate governance practice which have proliferated globally over the last three decades. The possibility for transparency to conceal more than is revealed is considered with regard to corporate communication of information, with the consequence that power and real knowledge of the corporate behavioural agenda remains in corporate hands. Philosophically, the paradoxical and unintended outcome is that corporations are constrained by the norm of transparency in developing authentic moral behaviour, while also exercising power and control since in the information society transparency does not, and indeed cannot, lead to revealing all. Transparency places greater emphasis on judging, or evaluating existing organisational processes than on assessment of (self-)learning processes based on what actually takes place when corporations make decisions.

Author's Profile

Finn Janning
Copenhagen Business School (PhD)

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