Transparency Ethics


Course Description

E19   Transparency Ethics, 3 CE hours, $21

Description: Managerial Transparency refers to the actions, writing and plans of individuals, groups or organizations that exclude any hidden information, motives or data.

Objectives: At the end of this course, you will  be equipped to make basic ethical decisions on managerial matters involving transparency and corruption.

Course Exam

TEST: Study this web-site for 3 hours for an approved (RN-CEP 16144) 3-hours Continuing Education Certificate (0.3 CEUs). click here for the self-correcting test & online payment, and 2) receive your certificate immediately online. All is online, nothing by post-mail.

Course Outline

To deal with transparency ethics, you need to find the answers to these and other questions:

1. What is transparency? 1.1 definition
1.2 limits of secrecy
2. What fosters transparency? 2.1 openness
2.2 accountability
3. What is corruption? 3.1 abuse of power
3.2 bribery & fraud
4. What limits corruption? 4.1 objectivity
4.2 free participation

This course does not deal with legal issues, which are generally a far lower safety-net that ethical ones. Ethics expects higher standards than just passing the minimum legal requirements.

1. What is transparency?

How is transparency defined?

Readily understandable, clear, without guile, candid.

What is your definition?

What is Managerial Transparency?

Managerial Transparency refers to the actions, writing and plans of individuals, groups or organizations that exclude any hidden information, motives or data. Thus the vita of officials at governmental, business and nonprofit organizations should be available, and should include, among others, board memberships on legal corporations.

Within transparency, what are some of the limits of secrecy?

One short way to define management ethics is to call it the study of right and wrong in a public or organizational context.  Managerial ethics seeks answers to questions like “Is it OK to hide financial or interpersonal transactions that you would not like everybody to know?”

“What is usually the right thing to do?” Here are four statements. Some are better than others.

  • “Hide it and stay out of trouble”
  • “My personal affairs are only my business.”
  • “I am open and have nothing to hide.”
  • “I am accountable for my managerial and personal conduct.”


2. What fosters transparency?

What makes openness and selflessness so attractive in life and management?

An open and selfless person can fully focus all energies on service to others. Selflessness avoids hidden personal benefits that may accrue due to position or power, and benefits that may accrue to family members and friends.
All managerial decisions should be only on merit and truth, and none may be influenced by personal, friendship or family considerations.  A sole owner may use nepotism. He may give a job to his son. A manager of a nonprofit organization does not have that right, for the organization is not his to use for his benefit.

In what ways are you accountable?

To whom are you accountable? How often are you aware of this accountability? What form does your accountability take? Would you be embarrassed by some questions?


3. What is corruption?

What is included in misuse of power?

Public corruption, defined here as the misuse or abuse of power by an individual or group of elected or employed public servants acting together, has been around for as long as there have been people. Since they have a public trust, officials of nonprofit organizations are also public servants. It is a very predictable aspect of human nature to take advantage of the public trust and use it for one’s own personal advantage.

Give some examples of misuse of power. What is the difference between abuse and misuse?

What financial and interpersonal actions may be called corruption?

Bribery, Fraud, Inappropriate financial and interpersonal associations and transactions and ….

In many places, gifts or favors valued at $200 or more are inappropriate and may be considered a bribe, even if no immediate direct service is expected in return for the gift. Larger gifts are generally appropriate mainly to charitable organizations and family members. Smaller gifts valued under $20 may be very appropriate between friends.


4. What limits corruption?

How does objectivity relate to transparency?

In objectivity, only the going toward merit and truth are relevant. Thus individuals are free to manage their business and public affairs transparently.  Where family and friendship partiality is shown, subjectivity enters and individuals are deprived of equal rights and considerations. How open are you?

How does free participation hinder corruption?

The fences of an organization are there to provide free participation inside and to limit interference from outside. Free participation provides for a hearing of suggestions and complaints for the improvement of the organization. What else limits corruption?

Government Transparency Concept of Operations

1.2.1. Transparency: Providing Access and Driving Accountability

At the core of is making Federal data more accessible and usable to the public. Increasing the ability of the public to discover, understand, and use the stores of government data to increase government accountability and unlock additional economic and social value. Dissemination of public domain data has always been an integral mission activity of the Executive Branch. Specifically, OMB Memorandum M-06-02 requires agencies to “organize and categorize Federal agency information intended for public access” and “make data searchable across agencies”. is a major mechanism by which agencies can fulfill requirements in OMB Memorandum M-06-02 in a more consistent and citizen-friendly way. takes this traditional activity to the next step by providing coordinated and cohesive cross-agency access to data and tools via a non-Agency-specific delivery channel. is increasingly enhancing the public’s ability to find information by offering metadata catalogs integrated across agencies, thus transcending agency stove pipes. A more consolidated source for data and tool discovery allows the public to navigate the Federal sector data holdings without having to know, in advance, how either the Federal government as a whole or an individual Agency is organized.

Based on feedback from the public, is working with to develop search capabilities that will further enhance the public’s ability to find data, tools, and related Federal web pages regardless of whether they are available on also places a strong emphasis on the dissemination of public information generated by the Federal government in platform-independent, standards-based formats that promote creative analysis –via data that are authoritative and granular. Furthermore, as technology moves from having “data on the web” to a “web of interoperable data,” will have to evolve to become compatible. Thought is being given to how the development and adoption of semantic web protocols that encode meaning of data in such a way that it is directly interpretable by computers. Through the data web, data aggregation and analyses might be done directly through machine interaction, and new applications and services might be more efficiently created.


FederalTransparency.Gov, launched in November 2010, is the third website created and operated by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board. The Recovery Board was established in February 2009 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to promote accountability and transparency in the $787 billion Recovery program. The Board oversees the use of Recovery funds to prevent fraud, waste and mismanagement. It manages, which provides accurate, user friendly information on the Recovery program. tracks spending and jobs financed by the $10 billion Education Jobs Fund program.  That fund was created by Congress in August 2010 to provide a financial lifeline to school districts around the country.  Even though the Education Jobs Fund program is not part of the Recovery Act, Congress directed the Board to keep a close watch on the funds.

To avoid confusion with, which tracks Recovery spending, the Board created Recipients of money under the Education Jobs Fund submit quarterly reports on their spending on, a password-protected Board website that then transfers the data to for public review. also collects data from recipients of federal contracts, grants and loans funded by the Recovery Act. provides basic information on the Education Jobs Fund program such as the total amount awarded to each state and territorial recipient, the amount of money received, the number of jobs funded, and the status of projects. The website also has some of the same features as, including an interactive map and details on funding received and spent by sub-recipient local school districts.

Education Jobs Fund reports were first collected for the period ending September 30, 2010, and subsequently will be collected quarterly on the website. The money under the program was distributed to states by a formula based on population figures. The states then distributed the money based on their primary funding formula or the formula they use to distribute Title 1 funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. will be used to display data for any other spending program that Congress might ask the Board to monitor in the future.


Related Press Releases

Ethics Library

Explore your concerns in ethics at three of the following sites:


Study this web-site for 3 hours for an approved (RN-CEP 16144) 3-hours Continuing Education Certificate (0.3 CEUs). Click here for the self-correcting test & online payment, and 2) receive your certificate immediately online. All is online, nothing by post-mail. 

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