Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Transparency, Yes--But How Much?: Gloria Tan at morph wonders about the limits of transparency, and raises some interesting questions: "True transparency can happen only when you never have anything to hide. For a large corporation that has to worry about... keeping things like cutting-edge research and product development under wraps, that's not likely."

Gloria's right that blogging enthusiasts do tend to get so excited about the notion of corporate transparency that they forget about its limits. Proprietary products and processes, secret formulas, etc., are obviously going to be off-limits for the foreseeable future. But I'm not sure that's especially important.

When stakeholders demand transparency, I think they are usually more interested in the behaviors of an organization that impact the rest of us: how it makes decisions regarding environmental impacts, or product development, or marketing strategy, or human resources policies. And I would certainly subscribe to the view that more is better.

This whole subject was addressed at great length by Don Tapscott in his should-have-been bestseller The Naked Corporation, which made an eloquent case for transparency without (to the best of my recollection) ever mentioning the word "blog."


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