You may hear the term “transparency” get tossed around here and there. Some use the term as a moral proclamation, to illustrate ideals of honesty and good faith when talking about people relations. Another use for “transparency” is when someone is describing a system and how it can be more efficient and coordinated, such as a business. That’s how we’ll be using the term.  

When describing a business’ organization, transparency refers to how easily information travels throughout the organization, or at least, useful and accurate information. This flow of information is ultimately determined by how open and honest a company is with its employees, and how effectively the company’s goals are communicated throughout. In the end, levels of transparency within the business will affect how efficiently the various departments work together, which will in turn make a business more competitive and successful. How so? We’ll let’s run through an explanation.

A successful business offers a solid, consistent product (or service). Can we argue with that? Successful businesses offer products/services that you can depend on every time, and in a crowded marketplace, products and services that have a consistent character, a unique statement that reflects that business’ own philosophy. How do we get products and services like that? Well, we get those things from the people and processes that make them happen. When a company’s employees work together under a common objective and shared information, you get a consistent product or service. Transparency would be the availability of that information.

Transparency also figures into the actual organizational framework of a business as well.  

Businesses can be complex organizations. These organizations are often comprised of multiple departments with different functions, all working together to achieve the objectives of the business. Certain departments may function as information gatherers, while others could function as number crunchers, manual laborers, creative and artistic designers, managers, you name it.

For a business to be successful and productive, all of its subordinate departments need to work together efficiently and effectively. This requires the departments to all be working on the same page, communicating with each other and coordinating their efforts. For this to be possible, every individual must be well versed in the business’ culture and well supplied with information on the state of the business. Individuals who have a clear idea of their surroundings and a clear understanding of the overall objective work more efficiently.

So all in all, transparency describes the clear flow of company information throughout a business. The more open and honest a business is with their employees, the more information the employees have to coordinate with one another. This in turn leads to more efficient processes and quality products and services.

In the end, if you look at a business as a machine with different parts that work together to produce an effect, then transparency serves as the oil to make sure all of those parts are in good working order. Good information helps everything run smoothly, lending to a successful business!