Transparency Mechanisms in the Age of Ethical Consumerism

Kalliopi Karageorgou

Student thesis: Master thesis


While transparency is being implemented more and more in today’s vocabulary as an attribute of openness and honesty, the actual effects have not essentially been examined. Transparency that carries only positive implications as a mechanism has lately been used in corporate activities. What has been noticed is a relationship between the tendency of ethical consumerism, sustainable fashion and transparency mechanisms. Although, most research has up until now dealt with the notion of transparency in the Supply Chain management, the purpose of this paper is to study the movement of transparency with a more holistic approach to corporate activities.
For this reason, Everlane a fashion company that presents itself as “radically transparent” is chosen as a case study of this research. By combining the literature of informational, participatory and accountability transparency with the concepts of corporate communication, co-creation and CSR policies, a deeper understanding regarding this novel mechanism is accomplished in this paper. Inspiration for this research was found in the framework of Bent Flyvberg (2012,2013,2014) phronetic social research and his four value questions; 1.Where are we going? 2.Who gains and who loses? 3.Is this development desirable? 4. If not, what should we do about it? From Everlane’s analysis, interpretations are made regarding the different categories of transparency; information, participatory and accountability. The corporate mechanisms in relation to these categories offer fruitful insights for the purpose of corporate activities. A new category of transparency labelled as social transparency, emerges as a mechanism that promotes and engages with social impact.
Finally, a discussion takes place attempting to measure the effectiveness of Everlane’s transparency while proposing further implications on how companies should implement it in their identities and strategies. The four value questions of Flyvberg (2012,2013,2014) are answered providing insights regarding knowledge and power relations, offering inspiration for further researchers and managers that are interested in the movement of transparency. As a last point, a model for future transparency mechanisms is designed with regards to phronesis and secrecy.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages98
SupervisorsRobin Holt