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Visibility and verifiability in port governance transparency: exploring stakeholder expectations

Abstract

Transparency remains an under-analyzed topic in port research, and previous research has shown that port decision-making and governance reporting are inconsistent across countries. While transparency might be imposed through legislation or voluntarily adopted, effective transparency also includes (a) an organization’s willingness to consistently communicate and make transparent information available to internal or external stakeholders and (b) the stakeholder`s expectations on the visibility and verifiability of information. This paper focuses primarily on the second of these, extending an earlier study that explored the availability of information accessible to the public and port stakeholders through a port’s most public face—its website (Brooks et al. 2020). This research examines a subset of 27 governance variables from Brooks et al. (2020), who explored 59 separate items to identify transparency practices by ports, revealing uneven levels of port transparency. The scope is to identify what different port stakeholders expect to be visible and readily available in terms of board meeting openness, board director conflict of interest, board provided information, and board reports/publications. Stakeholders also provided their perceptions of how trustworthy board reporting was perceived. The data set includes 134 usable responses from 38 countries and this paper analyzes similarities and differences across stakeholders and countries. The responses from the survey are also considered in the light of the results from Brooks et al. (2020) and the extent that ports currently make these variables visible and available. The study concludes by discussing a further research agenda towards a more transparent and thus better port industry.

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Correspondence to Athanasios A. Pallis.

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Brooks, M.R., Knatz, G., Pallis, A.A. et al. Visibility and verifiability in port governance transparency: exploring stakeholder expectations. WMU J Marit Affairs 20, 435–455 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13437-021-00250-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13437-021-00250-2

Keywords

  • Port transparency
  • Port governance
  • Port policy
  • Port decision-making
  • Port communications