Thursday, October 20, 2005

Ethics and Competitive Intelligence

Two librarians of the Research Network attended a program on competitive intelligence last week. Speaker Ellen Reen discussed the importance of ethics in any research and analysis whether for your employer or your own business.

First and foremost, the issue of ethics in competitive intelligence must be considered. Always clearly identify yourself prior to first person interviews and avoid conflict of interest. It is important to establish policies for your organization to prevent unethical or illegal practices. Further research into the Economic Espionage Act of 1996, the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals' Code of Ethics and Fuld's Ten Commandments can aid in developing standards for an organization. For example, the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 makes the theft or misappropriation of a trade secret a federal crime. If you or your employees conduct unethical or illegal activity, your business could be at risk. Ultimately, speaker Ellen Reen likes to ask, "How would this activity look on the front page?" or "What would my grandmother say?"

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