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NCJ Number: 66002 Find in a Library
Title: SLEUTHING THE OPPOSITION - DOES ANYTHING GO?
Journal: INDUSTRY WEEK  Volume:195  Dated:(NOVEMBER 21, 1977)  Pages:52-57
Author(s): B S MOSKAL
Corporate Author: Penton-IPC
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: Penton-IPC
Cleveland, OH 44114
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: BASED ON A SURVEY OF CORPORATE MANAGERS, THIS ARTICLE EXAMINES UNETHICAL PRACTICES THAT COMPANIES USE TO GATHER INFORMATION ON COMPETITORS.
Abstract: BUSINESSES CAN OBTAIN SECRET INFORMATION BY PLACING AGENTS IN A COMPETITOR'S PLANT TOUR OR ON A COMPETITOR'S STAFF, OR BY PURSUING DISCLOSURES MADE INNOCENTLY AT SOCIAL FUNCTIONS. A SECURITY FIRM EXECUTIVE CLAIMED THAT INTERMEDIATE-SIZE COMPANIES ARE MOST PRONE TO ESPIONAGE. CURRENT DATA ON COMPETITORS CAN SAVE CORPORATIONS MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OR ALLOW THEM TO MAKE A PROFIT WITH FEW EXPENSES. A MAJORITY OF THE MANAGERS INTERVIEWED FELT THAT A GOOD MARKETING RESEARCH PERSON WOULD PROBABLY OVERLOOK ETHICS IN SEARCHING FOR VITAL INFORMATION. OVER ONE THIRD OF THE SURVEY'S RESPONDENTS CLAIMED THAT THEIR COMPANIES HAD SUFFERED BECAUSE OF UNFAIR PRACTICES BY COMPETITORS, ALTHOUGH FEW OF THE RESPONDENTS HAD USED UNETHICAL TECHNIQUES. COMMON METHODS INCLUDED PIRATING EMPLOYEES TO GAIN INFORMATION, OBTAINING INFORMATION BY POSING AS A CUSTOMER, STARTING FALSE RUMORS ABOUT A COMPETITOR, AND PATENT INFRINGEMENT. MORE COMPANIES ARE PLANTING PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS AMONG THEIR PERSONNEL TO UNCOVER IMPROPER PRACTICES. MANAGERS WERE ALMOST EVENLY DIVIDED ON THE QUESTION OF CORRELATIONS BETWEEN UNETHICAL CONDUCT AND COMPANY SIZE. APPROXIMATELY HALF OF THOSE WHO PERCEIVED A RELATIONSHIP THOUGHT THAT THE SMALL COMPANY WAS THE MOST ETHICAL. MOST MANAGERS STATED THAT TOP CORPORATE EXECUTIVES SHOULD UPGRADE BUSINESS ETHICS, BUT THAT GOVERNMENT REGULATION WAS UNNECESSARY. TRADE SECRETS CAN BE PROTECTED BY EMPLOYING LEGAL PROTECTION, SECRECY AGREEMENTS WITH EMPLOYEES, AND CONTRACTS WITH DEPARTING EMPLOYEES FORBIDDING THEM TO WORK FOR A COMPETITOR FOR A SPECIFIED TIME PERIOD. A TABLE SUMMARIZES THE SURVEY RESULTS. (MJM)
Index Term(s): Code of ethics; Industrial espionage; Industrial security
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=66002

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