4 Reasons Why Transparency Remains a Dirty Word in Business
By Bushra Azhar for CSRwire
Whether it is the Saad and Gosaibi case shrouded in layers upon layers of useless and expensive secrecy or the real numbers of health and safety accidents, countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are not particularly well known for prioritizing transparency. Even though more and more companies are striving to be open about their practices as governments take steps to push them in the right direction, public disclosure is still seen as an unnecessary and cumbersome practice among corporate corridors.
From cultural nuances to a skewed perception of what it entails, there are many reasons why companies in the region consistently shy away from being open and transparent. Here are four reasons why:
The spirit and practice of CSR in the GCC region is often reminiscent with traditional conservative values and religious concepts. It is a region that often does not identify with elements that represent an open, modern society. In daily life, people – and corporations – depend on structures and institutions that are resonant with their heritage and have withstood the test of time, such as the family, clan networks, and religion.
This means that while there is a focus on integrity and social service, in true cultural likening, transparency and openness are not necessarily a part of the corporate agenda. Despite regulatory pressures, this focus on secrecy and privacy prevails in all aspects of business in the GCC.
The good news however, is that in the wake of the financial meltdown, companies are quickly realizing that higher walls mean lower investor trust, and that trust is a valuable commodity.
But that’s where the good news ends. A skewed perception of CSR and what it means to be transparent in business leads companies to hide rather than disclose. Continue reading Azhar’s analysis on CSRwire Talkback and learn why despite external pressures, transparency remains a dirty word for businesses in the Middle East.