Unveiling Organizational Visions
Edited by Christina Garsten and Monica Lindh de Montoya
Chapter 4: The Naked Corporation: Visualization, Veiling and the Ethico-politics of Organizational Transparency
Christina Garsten and Monica Lindh de Montoya INTRODUCTION: TRANSPARENTIZING THE CORPORATION Corporations are a peculiar type of social organization. Designed to reveal, but just as much to conceal, the corporation is something of a Janus-faced ﬁgure. One of the more signiﬁcant activities that corporate managers engage in is attempting to control what is revealed and what is concealed, what information and knowledge ﬂows across the boundaries of the organization, and who receives access to particular information. The transparency of a corporation may be something of a new addition to the corporate agenda, but is by no means a new problem. Rather, it is a classic problem thoroughly tied in with attempts at organizing and managing. Secrecy and concealment imbue the corporation with excitement. From the outside looking in, we can imagine that lots of interesting stuﬀ is going on in the corporate cubicles. Creative minds are at work, huge resources are being moved around and new innovations being crafted. These activities are not for everyone to see. Indeed, entrepreneurial activity frequently depends on balancing elements of secrecy and conﬁdentiality; be it in business concept, product design, or company strategy and organization. In research and development, information about new products is rigorously kept secret from competitors. Corporations are often reticent about providing information about suppliers, production prices, labour arrangements and new products in the pipeline because it might rob them of their competitive edge. New recruits in organizations often have to sign agreements of conﬁdentiality, as a condition...
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