Table of Contents

Transparency in a New Global Order

Transparency in a New Global Order

Unveiling Organizational Visions

Edited by Christina Garsten and Monica Lindh de Montoya

This book argues that transparency is a concept that has gained increasing currency and favour as an organizing principle and administrative goal in recent years. Calls for transparency have been directed towards states, markets, corporations and national political processes as well as towards large institutions such as the European Union.

Chapter 9: Transparency through Labelling? Layers of Visibility in Environmental Risk Management

Mikael Klintman and Magnus Boström

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory


Mikael Klintman and Magnus Boström INTRODUCTION: UNVEILING HIDDEN RISKS There is an intriguing tension embedded in today’s risk management, not least with regard to the environment. On the one hand, there is, arguably, increased public risk awareness in these times of reflexive modernity. This awareness is rooted in a critical view contending that scientific experts should not have the monopoly on defining, identifying or evaluating risks; nor should these experts have the monopoly on the decision-making process surrounding how to reduce or avoid these risks (Giddens, 1990; Lash et al., 1996). This critical view both necessitates and provides room for more open and deliberative processes for identifying and formulating risks and handling them (Hajer and Wagenaar, 2003; Macnaghten and Urry, 1998). On the other hand, the identification and handling of risks today often takes place through expert-based, standardized audits of practices and products with different assumed risk implications. Social scientists note an ‘audit explosion’ in most areas of society, characterized by ‘checking gone wild’ (Power, 1997). Practices and techniques for checking are widespread and widely used in a great number of organizations. Although social scientists – as well as policy practitioners, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and to a certain extent private firms – embrace both these tendencies (at least rhetorically), the relationship between a critical view among the public towards the role of experts, on the one hand, and expert-based procedures of checking and certifying, on the other hand, is far from obvious. For instance, certain accounting...

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