Thinking that a company’s only responsibility is to increase its profits is still relevant at the dawn of corporate awareness. Corporate transparency i.e. making decision-making and operations as open as possible to all stakeholders and the general public is a great opportunity to make the profit incentive publicly acceptable and improve a brand long-term.
Integrity is good for business. Is there any real transparency, however, if the reporting and other communications of a company are not transparent, too?
Proceeding to the level of corporate language that is used to communicate transparency, there must be a genuine effort by companies to suit their rhetoric to the widest possible audience. Linguistic opacity and jargon can be dangerous weapons when deliberately employed in government or business. Morally suspect information is often encrypted in difficult words or ambiguous phrases in order to hide it from outsiders. Just think of Orwell’s Newspeak.
The Plain Language and Plain Writing movements are examples of advocating clearer language within the society. They consider plain language a civil right but face the difficulty of communicating complex and uncommon ideas in a popular way. Despite the challenges, it’s worth a nudge to all kinds of organizations to try make their messages readable and understandable to anyone. Isn’t the widest possible audience good for business in the long term?
This post was published for the first time 18 March 2012.