Organizational transparency as myth and metaphor

Lars Thøger Christensen*, Joep Cornelissen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


Transparency has achieved a mythical status in society. Myths are not false accounts or understandings, but deep-seated and definitive descriptions of the world that ontologically ground the ways in which we frame and see the world around us. We explore the mythical nature of transparency from this perspective, explain its social-historical underpinnings and discuss its influence on contemporary organizations. In doing so, we also theorize in a more general sense about the relationship between myth, as a foundational understanding and description of the world, and the constellation of metaphors, as specific ways of framing and seeing organizational reality, to which it gives rise. While observations and evidence can always be adduced to challenge a particular set of metaphors, the endogenous force of the myth may sustain the overall project. This process is explained with a detailed analysis of the transparency myth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-149
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Theory
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2015


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