What are some impacts of Non-Transparency?

Transparency, a topic within leadership that has trended to be a big issue within any company. There are some articles that talk about this topic, but I would like to hear from business professionals.


My background: I've built several products that anonymously allow employees to communicate their concerns which also measure the impact of specific actions or inactions of organizations and leadership.

The biggest negative impact of an organization that isn't very transparent is a lack of trust by employees and often customers. A lack of trust will erode employee engagement amongst top performers.

Hope that helps.

Answered 10 years ago

My background is a digital marketer and web analyst helping businesses strategize and optimize conversions and campaigns.

As Tom has indicated, lack of trust will be the #1 problem whether it is non-transparency towards customers or employees.

From the customer perspective. There is a growing trend in research before buying. Often a customer will want to gather as much information as they can before reaching out to the business for that next step conversation. By providing transparency and information, you build that trust and credibility as a subject matter expert which becomes the basis for business relationships and transactions.

Comparing company A and company B,, A provides tons of information about their services while B simply lists a service offerings on their page. A has moved to build more rapport with the customer and is much more likely in securing that business.

Feel free to contact for any additional questions.

Answered 10 years ago

I have done a lot of work on transparency with both non-profits and corporates, especially when related to strategic decisions, bad news, M&A and social media.

Non-transparency implies you're hiding something. In most cases, leaders and managers believe non-transparency gives them an edge in negotiation / makes them more irreplaceable or that it will avoid conflict / problems.

The impact of Non-Transparency include what happens when the truth is discovered. Sometimes before the deal is made, sometimes after.

Other impacts are on the overall atmosphere of the company and relations to other colleagues / business partners / clients: people know there is non-transparency because they know the workplace is not fully transparent. This increases stress, tension, decreases openness of employees, reduces their loyalty, can affect their work ethics, etc.

On the individual who has to conceal the truth, there is also a psychological and physiological impact. If an individual has to hold on to many "non-transparent truths", the physiological impact on the body can lead to chronic pains and illnesses (especially back and eye pains, stomach problems and even heart diseases in the most serious cases).

I do not condemn non-transparency because it can be necessary in specific situations.

The questions you may want to ask yourself are:

1. What is the purpose of non-transparency?
2. What are the alternative solutions to non-transparency?
3. What is the worst that can happen with transparency?
4. What are we worried will actually happen? Why do we think this will happen?
5. What does the ideal situation look like?
6. What do we want to achieve?

If you want to explore non-transparency within your leadership or company, we can arrange a call to guide you in deciding whether it is the best solution in the situation you're in.

There are some fabulous examples of organizations that have tested different forms of transparency, with the pros and cons, which I will happily share with you.

Is this any useful?

Answered 10 years ago

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