• Transparency and accountability



    Since President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Executive Order in July mandating full public disclosure of all offices under the executive branch, many are hopeful that this is the start of true transparency and accountability in government.

    Transparency and accountability are not limited to the public sector. They are important in the private sector too, where CEOs, board of directors, and senior officers wield authority over the use of an organization’s resources, may it be capital, people, or other assets.

    Transparency calls for information disclosure, clarity, and accuracy. So, to promote transparency, corporate executives should ensure that their communications with stakeholders meet these requirements. For example, disclose voluntarily information about the ecological and environmental impact of the company’s activities; display clarity by avoiding the use of technical jargon in correspondences with suppliers; avoid unnecessary embellishments and biases that distort facts in communications with investors.

    Business leaders must uphold transparency in their organizations, whether private or public, by giving stakeholders a view on the internal workings of the organization and how it generates income or spends funds.

    This is done by publishing annual reports, holding regular stockholders’ meeting, issuing public statements in the press, keeping employees, as well as suppliers, informed of the progress of business, investments into the business, and new policies introduced.

    Transparency helps create trust among stakeholders, encourages well-informed decision-making, and supports greater participation all parties. Transparency and trust are inextricably linked. Transparency helps develop a culture in which trust builds and enhances the image of the organization, thus making it attractive to join or associate with.

    To promote transparency, the top management needs to be clear about and agree on what constitutes success to their organization; then promote open and clear communication internally among executives and staff, and externally with other stakeholders and the general public.

    Commitment to transparency will define an organization’s reputation, which, in turn, becomes the measure for others to decide whether or not to join, or to do business with, that organization. By gaining such reputation, the organization will win the respect of current and future members.

    Accountability, on the other hand, is the obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities,
    accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner.

    Management guru Mark Samuel in his book, The Accountability Revolution, says, “accountability means people can count on one another to keep performance commitments and communication agreements.” Accountability, therefore, can result in enhanced synergy; a climate conducive to experimentation and change that will lead to better solutions to problems. In the end, people will feel supported and trusted.

    Senior executives, and members and officers should therefore uphold accountability and accept responsibility for their actions and activities, and their outcome.

    The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of FINEX. The author may be emailed at reylugtu@gmail.com or visit his website at www.reylugtu.com. The author is a senior executive in the information and communications technology sector. He is the chairman of the ICT Committee of FINEX. He teaches strategic management in the MBA Program of the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business, De La Salle University. He is also Adjunct faculty of the Asian Institute of Management.


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