U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Organizational Dynamics, Vol. 38, No. 4, pp. 252–260, 2009; doi:10.1016/j.orgdyn.2009.07.003


It seems as though the word ‘‘transparency’’ has recently crossed the lips of every business guru, consultant, reporter, government official, and/or analyst with an outlet to share his or her opinions. Yet, even after the financial system overhaul conducted in the wake of the Enron Corp. and Tyco International scandals in the early 2000s, we do not have to look far for examples of corporate misdeeds today. In 2008 alone, the business world witnessed rogue traders treating the financial system more like a roulette wheel than a sound, time honored institution, corporate leaders taking multi-million dollar golden parachutes while their organizations required bailouts from the federal government to stay solvent, and public leaders leaving office in disgrace due to indiscretions, graft, conspicuous consumption and poor decision-making. It seems that in the pursuit of generating shareholder wealth, the well-being of many stakeholders has been pushed aside, creating conditions ripe for the questioning of authority and protestation against leaders who make dubious claims. Further, we have a crisis of confidence; overall, citizens of the United States were measurably less trusting of leaders such as elected officials, stockbrokers, trade union leaders, judges, and civil servants in 2006 than they were in 1998, according to a 2006 Harris Poll (www.harrisinteractive.com).