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Exploring transparency: a new framework for responsible business management

Denise Linda Parris (Department of Business, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, USA)
Jennifer L. Dapko (Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise, Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Florida, USA)
Richard Wade Arnold (Department of Business, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, USA)
Danny Arnold (Department of Business, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, USA)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 8 February 2016



The purpose of this paper is to critically review the relevant literature on transparency, provide a comprehensive definition of transparency, and present a new framework for facilitating the adoption of transparency as an ethical cornerstone and pragmatic strategy for organizational responsible business management.


A systematic literature review – a methodology adopted from medical sciences to eliminate research bias – was conducted. In doing so, the definitions, antecedents, and consequences of transparency are accessed and synthesized.


Based upon this process transparency is defined as the extent to which a stakeholder perceives an organization provides learning opportunities about itself. A conceptual framework emerged from the data. It describes when transparency is especially important, what organizations can do to be more transparent, and the potential benefits of transparency.

Practical implications

The transparency framework can be used as a guide for organizations attempting to change their behavior, image, and performance by adopting transparency as a value in their organization. In addition, the framework can be used to create and adopt a universal (i.e. industry-wide or even societal-wide) code of conduct. Furthermore, this review, definition, and framework provide a template for academics to advance transparency theory, and empirically test the construct’s application.


As a new research field, transparency has lacked a concise definition as well as a conceptual framework. This is the first comprehensive summary of transparency. In addition, this study contributes to the methodology of evaluating construct definitions to advance empirical research.



Parris, D.L., Dapko, J.L., Arnold, R.W. and Arnold, D. (2016), "Exploring transparency: a new framework for responsible business management", Management Decision, Vol. 54 No. 1, pp. 222-247.



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