Playing the numbers game: Dealing with transparency

S. Pachidi, M.H. Huysman, Hans Berends, G.C. van de Weerd

Research output: Contribution to ConferencePaperOther research output


Our research focus is on unpacking the performativity of transparency in order to explain how digital technologies, formerly perceived as enablers of surveillance and control, afford opaqueness as much as transparency. We develop a sociomaterial perspective on transparency and investigate how transparency in organizations is co-constituted by the materiality of digital technologies used in the workplace, together with the actions of the organizational members, who project the material effects of their actions and accordingly choose to be transparent or opaque. We extend our understanding of the performativity of transparency by taking into consideration the temporality of transparency and using a trichordal approach to understand its emergence. By performing a qualitative study in the business division of a large telecommunications organization, we analyze the material-discursive practices through which account managers become transparent and opaque in their interaction with a customer relationship management system. We show that these practices emerge while account managers are oriented to the effects of transparency in the past, present, or future, and develop a model to illustrate how transparency and opaqueness are produced interchangeably along this trichordal composition. The paper contributes to the discussion on the role of transparency in organizations and its interchange with opaqueness, by bringing to the foreground its sociomaterial and temporal nature.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventAcademy of Management 2015 Annual Meeting - Vancouver, BC, Canada
Duration: 7 Aug 20157 Aug 2015


LectureAcademy of Management 2015 Annual Meeting


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