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    Transparency Transparency Presentation Transcript

    • Transparency
      • John Brissenden
      • 02.03.10
    • Reading L’Etang & Piezcka (2006) chapter 4 http://www.thestreisandeffect.com / Christensen and Langer. Public Relations and the Strategic Use of Transparency: Consistency, Hypocrisy, and Corporate Change. Conference Papers -- International Communication Association (2008) pp. 1-40
    • Today’s learning outcomes
      • To understand the significance of transparency in public relations theory and practice
      • To consider examples
      • To test assumptions about online transparency
    • Previously
    • Twin functions of PR CORPORATE PR: Help maximise autonomy of business CONSUMER/MARKETING PR: Help increase the turnover of capital in consumption
    • Coercion Asymmetry of power No communication Partnership Symmetry of power Communication as an end in itself Manipulation Asymmetry of power Communication as a means to an end
    • “ You’re already naked.” “ The Internet has inverted the social physics of information. Companies used to assume that details about their internal workings were valuable precisely because they were secret. If you were cagey about your plans, you had the upper hand; if you kept your next big idea to yourself, people couldn't steal it. Now, billion- dollar ideas come to CEOs who give them away; corporations that publicize their failings grow stronger. Power comes not from your Rolodex but from how many bloggers link to you - and everyone trembles before search engine rankings... But are we really ready to do all our business in the buff?” Clive Thompson, Wired 15.04, March 2007
    • The Streisand Effect “ It's akin to trying to take pee out of the swimming pool.” Charlene Li, Fast Company, 30 June 2008
    • “ Transparency, the opposite of opacity, is a worthy, but unobtainable ideal in the social relationships of people, the workplace, and between governments and the governed. […] The illusion of transparency is fostered by an ever-growing environment of informational access often bleeding into the realm of overload and message saturation.[…]The illusion of transparency is fostered by an ever-growing presence of press coverage of the governors, institutions and business coupled with more sophisticated use of media technologies to make the organizations appear more accessible and open.” Drucker & Gumpert (2007): 493, in Christensen & Langer (2008)
    • Definitions “ The opposite of secrecy” Jahansoozi, in L’Etang & piezcka (2006): 80 “ An environment in which the objective of policy, its legal, institutional, and economic framework, policy decisions and their rationale, data, and the terms of agencies’ accountability, are provided to the public on an understandable, accessible and timely basis.” IMF (1999), ibid.
    • PR and transparency Transparency as a SOCIAL GOOD Transparency as a CORPORATE OBLIGATION Transparency as SYMMETRICAL COMMUNICATION Transparency as part of an EFFECTIVE RELATIONSHIP
    • But... Transparency may be a substitute for accountability Transparency is often strategic There are limits to transparency
    • Limits to transparency Information ≠ transparency “ Transparency extends beyond openness to embrace simplicity and comprehensibility.” Heald (2006a: 26) in Christensen & Langer (2008) Availability of information + ability to process information
    • Types of transparency Heald (2006a) in Christensen & Langer (2008) Upwards Downwards Inwards Outwards Events Processes Retrospective Real time Nominal Effective
    • Obstacles to transparency Avoidance, eg branding, undercover communication Social concerns, eg power, peaceful co-existence, conflict resolution Conflicting aims, eg FoIA versus privacy
    • Asymmetrical transparency
    • Rituals of transparency “ Transparency is reduced to strategic information disclosures designed to limit or transfer organizational liability and thus, in practice, avoid communication between organizations and their surroundings.” Christensen and Langer (2008): 14
    • The organisation of consistency Pressure for transparency Greater effort to manage and control information flows Need to speak with one voice
    • The “identification, monitoring and analysis of trends in key publics’ opinions that can mature into public policy and regulatory or legislative constraint of the private sector” (Heath, 1997: 6, in Tench & Yeomans, 2006: 377)