Organizational Transparency as Myth and Metaphor

Lars Thøger Christensen, Joep Cornelissen

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


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


    • Metaphor
    • Modernity
    • Myth
    • Transparency

    Cite this