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The transparency paradox: In an open classroom one student secretly passes a note to the other illustrating the transparency paradox

The transparency paradox

The more transparent your workplace the less transparent your employees. In an age of trackers, wearables, online monitoring, workplace chat and always-on devices it turns out that not only does a more transparent workplace actually drive people to more secretive behaviours, but that adding a little more privacy actually may improve productivity also.

As Ethan Bernstein says:

Very simply, the transparency paradox is the idea that increasingly transparent, open, observable workplaces can create less transparent employees.

See Harvard prof Ethan Bernstein’s The Transparency Paradox study (pdf) or I learned about it from the Freakonomics podcast: Yes, the Open Office Is Terrible — But It Doesn’t Have to Be.

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