Alessandro Comai (2004) Global code of Ethics and CI

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Alessandro Comai (2004) Global code of Ethics and CI

  1. 1. ComaiGlobal Code of Ethics andCompetitive IntelligencePurposes: an Ethical Perspectiveon Competitors Alessandro Comai ESADE Business School, University Ramon LlulEXECUTIVE SUMMARY KEYWORDS business and professional ethics, competitor re- This article discusses the ethical problems faced in search, conceptual framework, information gatheringthose investigations where competitors are the central techniques, internationalismobjects of the study. A conceptual framework is devel-oped that helps build ethical boundaries between ABOUT THE AUTHORinformation collection techniques. The model will Alessandro Comai, BSc(Eng.), MBA is currently aemploy four fundamental variables, the analysis of PhD candidate at ESADE business school. He is cur-which will lead to the progressive selection of collec- rently researching competitive intelligence and is alsotion techniques. The final outcome will primarily a freelance consultant in Barcelona specializing in CI.depend on the strategic purposes of decision-makers. He has written several articles and given seminars onThe model helps resolve ethical dilemmas that can CI and is a member of the Academic Board of thearise in the competitor information gathering process Journal of Competitive Intelligence and Management. Hein domestic and global markets. In addition, this is also director of the new Spanish magazine, Puzzle -article will present a new approach to the treatment of Revista Hispana de la Inteligencia Competitiva. Email:corporate ethical consciousness. a.comai.k@esade.edu INTRODUCTION Competitive intelligence (CI) is defined as the systematic process of gathering, classifying, analyzing and distributing information regarding competitors,24 Journal of Competitive Intelligence and Management • Volume 1 • Number 3 • Winter 2003
  2. 2. Global Code of Ethics and Competitive Intelligence Purposes: an Ethical Perspective on Competitorsmarkets, and industries. CI is secured using ethical Building Blocksand legal practices and is integrated into the strategicdecision-making process (Sammon, Kurland, & Business, Marketing and CompetitiveSpitalnic, 1984, Vella & McGonagle 1988, Prescott & Intelligence Ethics: Who are theMiller, 2001). In this regard, one of the primary objec- Stakeholders?tives of this article is to introduce a conceptual frame- Business ethics has received significant attentionwork which helps organizations, faced with competi- in the last two decades. There is considerable litera-tive intelligence (CI) research, to establish which col- ture to be found on this topic. Evidence of the aware-lection techniques are ethically acceptable in a specific ness of business ethics is provided by the numerouscontext. ‘Intelligence purposes’ will be introduced as publications that are dedicated to this topic. Thea main part of this framework. Another primary traditional focus of business ethics is the firm itself,objective of this article is to discuss approaches to CI and how its activities influence the external environ-through which firms can embrace a multinational ment and its stakeholders (Goodpaster, 1991).code of ethics. This topic will be explored by using a Little attention has been dedicated to the idea ofconductive approach to those individuals displaying the competition being regarded as one of these stake-ethical conduct when faced with a decision on whether holders of business ethics (Camacho, Fern·ndez, &to accept a type of gathering technique in a specific Miralles, 2002, Manley, 1991). Competitors have beencontext. treated with an unfair perspective, having, for the This article will commence by defining the way CI most part, been excluded from the stakeholder group.and ethics have been approached in the literature and Freeman (1984) broadly defined the stakeholder aswill identify the types of codes. The intention of this “any group or individual who can affect or is affectedinitial discussion is to provide a general overview of by the achievement of the organization’s objectives”.CI and ethics, thus providing a starting point for According to Spence, Coles and Harris (2001), com-discussion of the main subject. Next, four variables petitors should be included in the broad definition ofwhich establish the elements of a business research a stakeholder group. Several of the business disci-code of ethics will be described. This article will then plines, however, view the relationship between ethicsdescribe the types of collection techniques that are and the firm’s competitors in very different ways.used in business research and will illustrate the core Instead of broaching the idea of the competitor asgroup of variables impinging on the selection of these a primary focus of ethical discussion, marketing sci-techniques which are culture, principles and moral ence has devoted more effort to the relationship be-consciousness, collection techniques, and purposes. tween the researcher and the object of the investiga-This model will suggest a sequential process that will tion. The discipline of marketing focuses primarily onlead to the selection of the collection techniques. A the consumer and how the firm can positively ormodel is then proposed that will integrate all of the negatively interact with the customer or end-con-variables in three different levels. To further illustrate sumer. Ethics in marketing research is focused onthis model, the relationship between strategic pur- studying the relationship between the researcher andposes and moral judgment in the method of gathering the respondent (Murphy & Laczniak, 1992) and theinformation is examined. This concept is based on the customer (Ferrell, Hartline & McDaniel, 1998). Aca-idea that intelligence purposes interfere with the or- demic and professional literature on competitive in-ganization and modify the attitude of the information telligence has devoted significant attention to thegatherer. Finally, the article will discuss how indi- topic (Beltramini, 1986; Cohen & Czepiec, 1988; Paine,viduals could use the same conceptual model to select 1991; Hallaq & Steinhorst, 1994; Schultz; Collins &techniques according to their business principles. This McCulloch, 1994; Trevino & Weaver, 1997; Hamiltonarticle will conclude by suggesting a new approach & Fleisher, 2001; Prescott, 2001). In the discipline ofbased on the idea that a structure exists for defining a CI, the competitor and the competitive arena are theglobal ethical standard. main object of study. Hence, the end-consumer andJournal of Competitive Intelligence and Management • Volume 1 • Number 3 • Winter 2003 25
  3. 3. Comaibusiness environment are seen as a marginal interest. 1. Flexible Code According to Malhotra and Miller (1998), the eth- The flexible code provides some general guide-ics models proposed in the literature, concentrate lines for conduct. This type of code is open to inter-more on business in general as opposed to a specific pretation and can drive firms in different ways. Forfocus on the consumer or the competitor. The moral instance, the Society of Competitive Intelligence Pro-responsibility of business, marketing, and competi- fessionals (SCIP) publishes a code of ethics to betive intelligence, however, are not mutually exclusive. adhered to by members in their professional activityAll of them are concentrated in three different areas (Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals,with different foci and priorities. Moreover, the view 1997). Although SCIP members are expected to followthat there is a distinction regarding the effort that any the ethical standards, there is sufficient leeway forone of these disciplines dedicates to each stakeholder interpretation. Nolan (1999) noted that practitionerscan be reinforced by the idea that moral consciousness adhere to the SCIP code of ethics act in various waysvaries significantly between different types of re- (e.g., by restricting different types of primary andsearchers and organizations. The concept was sug- secondary collection techniques).gested by Ferrell, Hartline, and McDaniel (1998) whoconcluded that “marketing research companies en- 2. Rigid or Regulatory Codeforce their codes of ethics to a greater degree than The rigid or regulatory code is a normative type ofcorporate research departments.” code and it is usually referred to in articles or state- Moral conscience develops when firms look at the ments as “dos and don’ts”. The rigid form can be seenrelationship they have with their environment and the as a contract that the firm signs with its environmentplayers in it, and how this rapport evolves over time. and stakeholders. Once a company’s code of ethicsAll business research, which uses internal or external has been structured, it should formulate a set ofsources, will have a specific group of stakeholders.Tena and Comai (2001) suggested three key objects of COMPETITORSthe company and therefore the three main groups of AND FIRMSstakeholders for any organization: 1. Competitors and firms 2. Generic environment 3. End-consumers (CI Ethics) As discussed earlier, the three perspective of thebusiness ethics discipline can be perceived when theobject of the study is considered. These perspectives The Observerare summarized in Figure 1 which presents the paral-lel between the moral conscience and the focus of a (Business Ethics) (Marketing Ethics)specific research. For instance, if a firm is focused onthe general environment (e.g. ecology), business eth-ics comes into play. However, if the analysis is concen- ENVIRONMENT END-CONSUMERStrated on the consumer responses of a strategic prod-uct development, the ethics will be dealt with from amarket research perspective. The Subject The ObjectCode of Ethics: a Classification Intelligence Activity There are many ways of codifying ethical stan- Figure 1: The Relationship between subject, object,dards. A review of the literature indicates that there and focus in intelligence collection and analysisare five types of codes: Source: Adapted from: Tena & Comai (2001).26 Journal of Competitive Intelligence and Management • Volume 1 • Number 3 • Winter 2003
  4. 4. Global Code of Ethics and Competitive Intelligence Purposes: an Ethical Perspective on Competitorsapplicable guidelines that would help practitioners to c) regulatory: which offers guidelinesfollow them in their daily work. “In developing amoral culture, a corporation must formulate clear An organization can embrace one or all threeethical strategies and structures, taking into account purposes according to its style. It is generally ac-opportunities and risk, resources and competencies, cepted that restricted codes will offer less flexibilitypersonal values and preferences, and economic and and interpretation and the individuals who agree tosocial responsibilities” (Andrews, 1980). them will be less likely to get into conflict of interest. Restricted codes of ethics are very useful for people3. Storytelling, Case Study, Narrative, or with problematic decisions to make (Kahaner, 1998).Anecdotal Approach Conversely, Lozano (1999) stressed the difference This type of code is generally applied by educa- between regulated and self-regulated codes. Thetional organizations, which undoubtedly make a sig- former may be close to the codes of ethics adopted bynificant contribution to ethical awareness. Studies specific professions, which includes competence andregarding conflict of interest and ethical dilemmas are responsibilities. However, this type of code is notwidely used in business school courses. Frankel (1989) sufficient to enhance an ethical maturity and forwould classify this type of code as an educational Lozano (1999), it needs a second dimension. The self-code, the main purpose of which is to put forward regulated or “educative code”, as defined by Frankelhow a code can benefit the profession when it is (1989), includes a certain degree of interpretation,dealing with ethical problems. From practical experi- reasoning, and adaptability to a specific circumstance.ence, ethical awareness can be beneficial and very Regardless of which code is chosen, the firmeffective. For instance, J.C. Penny Company devel- would need a minimum degree of flexibility in orderoped many cases and descriptions of dilemmas in its to adapt its standard and moral consciousness to“Statement of Business Ethics” (Society of Competi- external and internal conditions. Ethical standards,tive Intelligence Professionals, 1997). therefore, must be open to systematic and ad-hoc revisions, which are a part of the corporate learning4. Golden Rules process. This approach is based on the following ethic: “Iwill not do anything that may now, or in the future, The Four Variables: Ethicsharm, or embarrass, the corporation” (Fuld, 1995) or Dimension“don’t’ do what you do not want others to do”. This Ethics in CI is not a simple issue. It is complexinstinctive code of ethics can be promptly assimilated because many factors are in play at the same time. Afrom practitioners but does not allow any corporation review of the specialized and general business ethicsto establish a thoughtful ethical conduct. literature suggests that there are many variables that interrelate in any ethical model. An expression of this5. Question and Answer Approach would be the model proposed by Malhotra and Miller Suggested by Nash (1981), this approach relates to (1998) in which the authors integrate all of the mainan individual assessing a decision by answering 12 stakeholders in marketing.questions. This type of process helps individuals when A holistic stakeholder approach to ethics incorpo-they are confronted with a problematical decision. rates four main variables that affect competitors’ moral judgment and relationships with other stakeholders: Each system has pros and cons and can have aspecific aim. Frankel (1989) defined the 3 main pur- • Variable 1: Questionable Methodsposes of a code as: • Variable 2: The Business Context: Regulation, Business Rules, and Geography a) aspiration: which emphasizes self achievement • Variable 3: Cultural and Ethical Principles b) educational: which underlines the importance of • Variable 4: Competitive Intelligence Purposes ethical wisdomJournal of Competitive Intelligence and Management • Volume 1 • Number 3 • Winter 2003 27
  5. 5. ComaiVariable 1: Questionable the identity of the party interested in securingMethods the information and, consequently, to reduce the The first variable includes the collection tech- level of aggressiveness perceived from the tar-niques or methods that have been widely discussed in geted company. It can be carried out by anthe specialized literature (Paine, 1991; Parad & Ban- independent research company, defined as aner, 1997; Schwebach, 1998; Washington Researchers “smoke-screen” or “screening” (Washington Re-1998; Nolan, 1999; Prescott, 2001). searchers, 1998). Another example is when a Since CI was defined as the systematic activity of manager calls himself a member of the ’market-gathering, analyzing, and distributing information ing department’ instead of ’competitor intelli-about the competition and the business environment, gence’ on his business cards or when he re-the area experiencing most difficulty in respecting moves his name tag when he approaches aethical boundaries during the whole process has been competitor’s stand at a trade fair. Another ex-the collection activity. Sawka (2001) defines the collec- ample is when a firm hires a student to collecttion activity as “fraught with risk”. Information gath- information claiming that the research is for theering processes make strong use of primary research, university.which is broadly recognized as the most valuablesource of information in competitive intelligence. Ac- • Similarly, improper influence and undue influencecording to Charters (2001), the collection activity is has a lot in common. This category classifiesnot the only one able to deliver competitive advan- those techniques that use psychological persua-tage. In fact, intelligence comes from a process that sion. For instance, love affairs, which may beemploys many activities. Research is a cyclical activity used from intelligence agents to get key infor-between collection and implicit or explicit analysis of mation, can lead to the destruction of thethe data. We collect information, we analyze it concur- counterpart’s reputation (Parad & Banner, 1997).rently, and if we need more information, we search forit, and analyze it again in order to obtain the answer • Improper means or false purposes occurs when therequired. objective or purposes of an interaction is not Collection techniques can include several classifi- clear to the other party. The best example of thiscations. Paine (1991) categorized any suspicious col- is that of improper job interviewing of alection activity into three groups: misrepresentation, competitor’s employees where the objective is toimproper influence, and covert surveillance. Prescott collect competitor information rather than select(2001) introduced four categories into which company and employ professionals. The hotel groupcollection activities can be separated: deception, un- Marriott was faced with this case when it wanteddue influence, covert intelligence, and unsolicited to enter the hotel management business. At theintelligence. By re-examining the content of both ana- time, the luxury hotel chain engaged a recog-lytical models we can make the following observa- nized consultant and interviewed various man-tions. agers of a competing chain (Dumaine, 1988). The controversy of elicitation technique can be • Legitimate activities are those that are respected, included in this category. “Elicitation is gaining agreed, and accepted either formally or infor- information through direct communication, mally by broader society (e.g., the firm, the where one or more of the involved parties is not government, or the stakeholder). aware of the specific purpose of the conversa- tion.“1 Doubts concerning the subject of elicita- • Misrepresentation or covert intelligence techniques tion, are clearly recognized today and have are those in which the name of the investigating quite a long tradition. In a 1977 survey by company is not fully disclosed, partially hidden Industry Week (as reproduced in Porter & Rangan, or distorted. The purpose of using misrepresen- 1992) “camouflaged questioning and drawing tation is to change the rival consciousness about out of competitor’s employees at technical meet-28 Journal of Competitive Intelligence and Management • Volume 1 • Number 3 • Winter 2003
  6. 6. Global Code of Ethics and Competitive Intelligence Purposes: an Ethical Perspective on Competitors ings” was seen as 50% ethical and 50% unethical Similar lists of practices or situations were mentioned but entirely legal and very effective. by Wall (1974), Beltramini (1986); Cohen and Czepiec (1988) and Parad and Banner (1997). • Unsolicited or accidental intelligence is not really a Conflict of interest becomes more apparent in technique but the use or the distribution of this projects that are less strategically oriented. For in- information can be open to ethical discussion. stance, if you want to study competitor moves for the An example of accidental intelligence would be next 5 years, you may be interested in following the case of the New York office of Lexis-Nexis signals of competitors’ intentions and beliefs rather which received a fax in which a competitor was than rush to their garbage to get a valuable piece of describing details of a product with the idea of information. Indeed, Schwebach’s (1998) work was sending it to a customer (Parker, 2002). Another focused on the type of information that sales people example is when you are sitting in the same reported to the company and he concluded that when airplane and at your side you have an employee the type of intelligence used was from a sales repre- of a competitor that is reading her/his next sentative, it was more tactical. presentation. It should be considered whether or not unethical behavior (in order to gain more information or to gain • Other techniques are those that cannot be classi- it more rapidly) will help in a particular task or in the fied into any of the above categories. These whole project. If the project is based on multiple tasks, techniques can be: hiring people away from an unethical collection activity will not add any sig- competitors, industry leaks, garbage-sorting, nificant value. Contrasting with Charters (2001), this technological or personal surveillance, interro- judgment is a problem because any piece of data can gation, persuasion, bribery and so on. Some of differentiate enormously in its value. This is the rea- these are illegal, some unethical. son why some collectors can fall into unethical behav- ior. However, unethical behavior does not pay in the One of the difficulties that collectors have to deal long term. What would be the risk that a firm couldwith is conflict of interest. The success of getting the run? Kahaner (1998) and Fuld (1995) stressed theinformation needed is directly correlated to the effec- relationship between ethics and monetary harm.tiveness of the operation and the result of the re- Kahaner (1998) remarks that “probably the most im-search. “In the day-to-day race for revenue, ethics can portant reason for good behavior is to keep yourget lost” (Kahaner, 1998). The race can be seen, even at company out of court, avoiding legal entanglementsstrategic level, in the obsession with achieving the and costs”. Collection activity is one part of a wholedominant position. Johnson and Maguire (1988) de- process. It does not mean that, by acting illegally, thefined a list of several ethical research techniques and answer will be found. In fact, intelligence comes from“dirty” activities that can be classified as business the analysis of information, which manifests eitherespionage. This situation, however, is more evident at concurrently or after the collection process. The Soci-operational levels involving tactical activities or short- ety of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (2004)term projects where both employees and external argues, “most information that can’t be found throughcontractors can rub out the ethical boundaries. When open-source collection and ethical inquiry can beanalysts have to solve the jigsaw puzzle, they will be deduced by using a variety of analytical tools”under pressure to find the missing piece (Porter & Professional researchers ought to be well-trainedRangan, 1992). and must sign a non-disclosure agreement that will The dilemma between ethical techniques and ef- induce respect for both company and competitorfectiveness is the full satisfaction of decision maker trade secrets. The intelligence process would be at aneeds. A contribution in this field was made by greater disadvantage if it could be proved that it wasSchwebach (1998) in which he compared 59 collection a conscious matter rather than a passive activity.techniques by investigating the effectiveness and the Ignorance cannot be tolerated from a professionalethical value that sales people perceived from them. engaged in qualitative research activities. Indeed,Journal of Competitive Intelligence and Management • Volume 1 • Number 3 • Winter 2003 29
  7. 7. Comai“moral blindness does not excuse corporations from of investigative conduct rather than bringing in aculpability. A corporation, like an individual, has the tangible change. Horowitz (1999) argues that the EEAresponsibility to pay attention to, and seek out, ethical “adds federal criminal penalties to activities whichfacts” (Hoffman, 1986). A CI project, in which knowl- were already illegal under state law”.edge of competitors is the main subject of information Law can be seen as the formalization and accep-gathering, is not the only type that can hold ethically tance of general business rules such as when anquestionable methods that are both tacit and explicit. informal agreement is formalized into an official con-“Properly trained CI professionals generally know tract. In fact, ethics can be considered as a “gentlemen’show to stay out of legal trouble, though they (a) agreement” when referring to business society - con-cannot explain their actions in legal terms and (b) ferring trust and respect of common rules betweentend to be more conservative than what the law two or more parties. If there is an issue regarding anallows.” (Fuld & Company, 2001). information gathering technique, there is no law that regulates this behavior. “Traditionally, the highest andVariable 2: The Business Context: best form of competition was thought to reflect aRegulation, Business Rules, and striving for excellence by each competitor. InterferingGeography with a rival’s efforts, or even taking advantage of a The business context represents the second main weakness, was regarded as a departure from thevariable in which the following topics can be classi- ideal.” (Paine, 1991). If the rules were accepted by thefied: majority of organizations, there would be less incom- prehension in business and moral attitude. WeissRegulation and Business Rules (2001) argues that “essentially there needs to be a The term “rules” used in business is a clear ex- balance between the ideal ethical code, and an ethicalample that business has long been compared to a code that will benefit the industry and as well as thegame and that this plays a central part in forming players within it so that companies are not encour-business attitudes. Porter (1985) introduced the con- aged to take an unfair advantage”. When potentiallycept of bad and good competitors. Porter’s classifica- unfair rules are no longer accepted or tolerated bytion is based on the behavior of the players: good are society, government can normalize these rules bythose firms that respect and follow industry rules and developing a regulation for them (e.g. competitiondo not reduce industry profitability and bad are the law).companies that do not follow industry rules. How- The theory of contract (ArruÒada, 1998) dealsever, what are the rules and where do they come with this issue by identifying formalized agreementfrom? Does the firm accept these rules? with the parties involved in a specific issue. Rawls The controversial topic of ethics and its bound- (1971) introduces an interesting conceptual frame-aries in investigation doesn’t have the same limits as work that allows parties with different interests tothose given as opinions in an open discussion. For build a group of rules and principles that respect aBeversluis (1987) “business is a game and the ordi- minimal level of justice. In the competitive arena, thenary constraints of morality do not apply and that one analogy could be seen when all competitors and allis not able to survive in business if one is too ethical”. firms accept and respect rules and principles thatThis legitimacy in part depends on the culture, beliefs, would regulate the competitive game. It perhapsand experience of the businesspeople. However, regu- forces new entrants to formally accept these agree-lation changes controversial business issues in law. In ments. Porter’s (1985) concepts of rules must be seenthis sense, regulation can help to formalize estab- as those characteristics that differentiate one industrylished and accepted rules. In the US, when the Eco- from another such as channels, standards, barriers,nomic Espionage Act (EEA)2 of 1996, was introduced, economy of scale, etc. In general, industry rules can beits function was to protect trade secrets from eco- different in their essence but are the same if they arenomic espionage and it represented the formalization viewed in terms of their acceptance.30 Journal of Competitive Intelligence and Management • Volume 1 • Number 3 • Winter 2003
  8. 8. Global Code of Ethics and Competitive Intelligence Purposes: an Ethical Perspective on CompetitorsInformation Accessibility and the Law instances” (National Counterintelligence Center, 1997). Another factor that influences ethical attitudes is Trade secrets are defined as existing when “the ownerthe degree of accessibility to specific types of informa- thereof has taken reasonable measures to keep suchtion. The competitive intelligence community claims information secret; and the information derives inde-that between 80-90% of competitive information is pendent economic value, actual or potential, from notfreely available in the environment and the remaining being generally known, and not being readily10-20% is not required to understand competitors’ ascertainable through proper means by the public.”activity. Other authors such as Rouach and Santi (National Counterintelligence Center, 1997). However,(2001) believe that 20% of all CI information is col- does a firm have the right to collect information evenlected from such “grey areas” and 25% of it will come if the secrets are not properly protected? For instance,from illegal sources. The issue is that the remaining in a case in which a photographer was discovered toinformation can sometimes be so critical that it could be taking aerial pictures of a new chemical plantchange the outcome of the project. These two aspects owned by a leading chemical firm, the photographyare related to the sources of information used in the was judged to be industrial espionage even though hegathering process. Through open sources we do not was taking the picture from public airspace. DuPontalways get just public information. However, what is showed that there was no way of protecting the plantpublic information? Schultz, Collins, and McCulloch from being photographed from the air and that,(1994) define publicly available data as the type of through the analysis of the picture taken, it wouldinformation provided by a “Öcompetitor who has have been possible to have discovered the nature of aeither chosen or is required to make this information secret formula (Johnson & Maguire, 1988).public knowledge”. Is a competitor allowed to getinformation from a rival’s suppliers even if he is not Geographical Contextpretending to be another person? To frame the discus- The nation state/country is a further factor thatsion, two main classifications can be used. interferes in an organization’s conduct. For example, American, Swedish, German and Japanese profes- • The first classification is defined as degree of sionals act in different ways and each one will legiti- confidentiality accorded to confidential or critical mize their own techniques (Becker & Fritzsche, 1987). information, which gives to the company a sus- For instance “in France, as in other countries, almost tainable competitive advantage. The loss of that any method used to collect information is considered information, which can be defined as trade se- moral and ethical by their standards” (Kahaner, 1998). crets, can considerably affect the company. The In Switzerland “any action that could affect the for- Economic Espionage Act, created in 1996 to tunes of a Swiss firm could be seen as a violation of protect US trade secrets, considers prototypes, the nation’s industrial espionage statutes” (Porter & production processes, or codes as trade secrets. Rangan, 1992). The difference can even be seen in the U.S. where laws differ between states. When garbage • The second classification, referred to as degree of is ’found’ on public property, it is considered, by the accessibility, can be related to the ability of a rival law of some states, as abandoned stuff. “In some to obtain the information sought. From the per- countries, bribing company officials to receive con- spective of security, it represents the level of tracts is considered a standard way of doing busi- protection or countermeasures established by ness” (Kahaner, 1998). Whatever the type of standard the company. is, geographical location represents an influential ex- ternal variable in the firm’s business management. Comparing the first and second categories, it is From a corporate social responsibility point ofpossible to define four different states. To make the view, firms are responsible for the changes that candiscussion straightforward, the focus will be on acces- interfere with the external environment. To a certainsible but confidential information. Obtaining informa- extent, both are mutually interacting. This is not onlytion from open sources “is legal in the majority of the case for those companies acting nationally, butJournal of Competitive Intelligence and Management • Volume 1 • Number 3 • Winter 2003 31
  9. 9. Comaieven for those that develop international information were set out: the system, the organization, and theretrieval systems. Anecdotal evidence reflected the individual. According to Lozano (1999), business eth-difference in collection methods that were used by ics is more focused on the organization although hislocal experts in different countries for the same as- work suggests that there is an additional intermediatesignment (Klein, 1998). Firms must restrict the type of level between the corporate and the individual: thecollection methods to those compatible with their collective or group level which has significant influ-own code and vice versa. A firm must accept the ence on an individual’s attitude, beliefs, and reason-restrictions that a country imposes. ing. In some aspects, it is possible to define four When a firm goes international, it must obtain a different external conditions that affect the individual.through understanding of the local business rules andculture and it must respect them. CI professionals 1. External Environmenthave to revise their codes when they conduct intelli- This condition includes legal, cultural or geo-gence projects around the globe (Prescott & Miller, graphical determinants. Moreover, the family is a2001). Establishing international projects is a chal- conditioner for a person’s ethical maturity.lenge to avoid getting involved in ethical dilemmas.To a certain extent, flexibility and adaptability is 2. Corporaterequired. Setting up an international code of ethics The relationship between corporate and indi-could be difficult even if (as Prescott & Gibbons (1993) vidual culture was studied by Hoffman (1986) whobelieve) “international codes of conduct must be con- defined how a corporation could achieve moral excel-sistent with the consensus of the profession world- lence when there is moral respect and cohesion ofwide, and be relevant to professional practice in the both the individual with his moral autonomy, and thecountries in which they operate”. If it seems that it is corporation with its policy, objectives, and culturequite difficult to meet and gain mutual consent re- framework. Both are part of the system and aregarding a code of ethics across companies in the same related. For Cohen and Czepiec (1988) “corporatebusiness, what will be even more difficult is its appli- culture has a strong effect on employee attitudescation in other industries and countries. towards gathering corporate intelligence”. However, the recent scandal of ethics that has implicated ProcterVariable 3: Culture and Ethical & Gamble, a major company in the consumer indus-Principles try, with its direct rival Unilever (Prescott, 2001), This third variable directs attention to the indi- opens the discussion on the acceptance of ethicalvidual culture and principles if these distinctive as- guidelines as opposed to personal code. According topects are formed by the external and organizational Charters (2001), individual reasoning is not boundlesscontext. First, culture will be discussed and then, the and there are personal interpretations. To avoid this, afour imperatives, or categorical ethical principles will cross-fertilization between people and groups is highlybe considered. recommended. An interesting influence between group and individual ethics as related to the type of entre-Culture: External, Corporate, Group and preneurial environment was explored by Kreuze,Individual Luqmani, and Luqmani (2001). Any business has to deal with a specific andmolded environment that influences individual and 3. Group Behaviorcollective values. This concept was introduced by This condition has been studied for a longBerger (1963) when defining the cognitive interdepen- time by means of group theory which defined thedence of two environments, the personal and the relationship between individuals and the group.external. Lozano (1999) identified the way to achieve Etzioni (1988) studied the “I” and “We” paradigm andthe conditioned freedom of a person. Three distinctive argued that individuals are “deeply affected by howlevels on which the business ethic can be focused well they are anchored within a sound community”.32 Journal of Competitive Intelligence and Management • Volume 1 • Number 3 • Winter 2003
  10. 10. Global Code of Ethics and Competitive Intelligence Purposes: an Ethical Perspective on Competitors 4. Individual Moral Conduct warfare or similar to a ’jungle’ and fighting is a The moral conduct of an individual can differ due ’weapon’ employed to survive rather than to collabo-to religion, education, attitude, etc. Individual rate. In Kohlberg’s (1981) work, this idea would bebehaviour also differs with demographic characteris- classified as the first stage of moral maturity, the pre-tics such as age, sex, or place. Hallaq and Steinhorst conventional level.(1994) asserted that rural people seem to assimilate In contrast, the cooperative strategy of some firmsethical attitudes better than urban people. Moreover, will be categorized as the second stage, the conven-they asserted that the group of practitioners that had tional level. A rule can emerge, be defined, and maybeless professional experience would employ lower ethi- accepted when an organization (person or group ofcal standards than those that had more work experi- people) views its own activity by using the counter-ence. In support of the study, Wall (1974) observed part perspective. This exercise allows companies tothat older executives were less likely to approve rethink its own attitude and relationship with anysuspicious collection activity than the younger ones, counterparts, partners, and actors that can be influ-even if there were no significant differences when the enced and affected by the company. Brandenburgerexecutives were asked to provide an opinion for and Nalebuff (1996) suggested that “putting yourselfextreme cases. Once the constraining codes of ethics in the other players’ shoes and playing out the game”are ignored, individual codes play a significant role in is a useful approach to understanding the conse-the definition and limitation of collection techniques. quence of a firm’s decision and action. The competitor“CI practitioners feel very much on their own, relying centre perspective requires an extraordinary aptitudeon personal background and intuition to make tough in those practicing it because CI practitioners, oftenethical decisions” (Trevino & Weaver, 1997). Schultz, perceive that competitors engage in espionage moreCollins, and McCulloch (1994) argued that the investi- than their own company (Cohen & Czepiec, 1988).gations are usually performed using personal judg- In the second level, the conventional stage, trustments rather than following a corporate code. and behavior positively affect the relationship be- tween stakeholders and other companies. In this stage The more ethics form a part of a company’s competitive rules are formally defined as well as thetraining, the more the company’s culture will achieve relationship between the competition. For instance,a higher moral state. Kohlberg (1981) established that the “co-opetition” relationship suggested bymoral maturity goes through 6 different stages, hier- Brandenburger and Nalebuff (1996), can lead to aarchically interrelated and divided into three levels: synergistic growth of the industry between competi-pre-conventional, conventional, and post-conventional. tors and partners.A prerequisite for reaching the next level is to have The third level of Kohlberg’s (1981) moral matu-been through the one before. The genesis of a moral rity levels, the post-conventional, will be achieved whenconsciousness in a company is an egocentric way of people create contracts with society; or in the case ofthinking and the highest level will be achieved when CI, with their competitors. Wilson (2000) argues thatcategorical principles are applied. “the public standing of a corporation rests fundamen- By looking at how people think about competitors tally on the execution of its social purpose - to serveand business in general, it is possible to see how a society by providing needed goods and services -company perceives its competitive role in the indus- rather than on its ability to maximize profits”.try. Broadly speaking, the artifacts or mottos thatpersist in today’s manager’s mentality influence their The Four Imperativesbusiness behavior. CI seems culturally in line with the At present, ethics is largely discussed in biological’warfare’ concept and sees the competitors as an and clinical research where interesting lessons can beenemy. Calof (2000) discussed the concept in that CI learned. The relationship between bioethics and busi-serves as a threat evaluation rather than an opportu- ness ethics was studied by Fisher (2001), who claimednity detection. Indeed, anecdotal observation shows that bioethical principles “provide a common frame-that there are companies that believe that business is work that individuals who hold differing normativeJournal of Competitive Intelligence and Management • Volume 1 • Number 3 • Winter 2003 33
  11. 11. Comaipositions can adopt when debating the issues.” 2. Beneficence The four imperatives can be seen as the formal This principle can be seen as a reinforcement ofexpression of personal culture. This article will use the first principle. It means that the researcher shouldthis specific group of imperatives as a way of signifi- not only pursue the objective to avoid damage butcantly manifesting the potential limitation of the col- also to improve his/her competitor’s situation. Coop-lection technique under restricted categorical prin- erative activities or partnerships are well appreciatedciples of ethics. However, there may be other different but if relationships are too strong they may createprinciples that could be applied to the issues of ethics. some conflicts in other areas. Intelligence used forFor instance, an interesting contribution in this area building industry barriers will lead to negative effectswas suggested by Charters (2001) with the CHIP for consumers in the form of, for instance, pricemodel. The model defines four areas of study: com- increases or lower quality. Anti-trust laws, for in-munity virtues, harm, individual, and personal vir- stance, can be seen as the result of this principle bytues. However, to emphasize the critical perspective, preserving economic freedom and avoiding monopolyit may be useful to employ the principles that are competition. Anti-trust can be also included withinapplied in biological and psychological science: the next two principles. • principle of harmlessness 3. Autonomy • principle of beneficence This principle gives the investigated elements the • principle of autonomy freedom of decision. This perspective seeks to give the • principle of justice firm complete information regarding the investiga- tion. As previously discussed, the idea of autonomy These four universal principles can be applied to can be seen at the moment firms agree to play theCI inquiry, although they are fairly rigid and they game by accepting implicit and explicit business rules.could considerably restrict the action of investiga- Theoretically, firms make contracts within the busi-tions. However, as discussed previously, the aim of ness environment as well as with the competition.this application is to develop awareness and criticalreasoning regarding information acquisition meth- 4. Justiceods. When firms use people as sources for obtaining This principle is concerned with the type of inves-information, ethics comes into discussion. tigation used. Firms should use the same investiga- tion techniques, independently of the object studied. 1. Harmlessness An application of this concept is the international This principle seeks to safeguard competitor, envi- principle of conduct. For example, is a country or aronment, and consumer dignity and their rights. This region right to carry out economic intelligence activi-utilitarian perspective emphasizes the safety of the ties for a particular group of firms by using publicobject studied by restricting the inquiry. The main funds?idea is not to damage the competitor’s position andnot to obtain critical or confidential data from them. Itis generally accepted that the investigator has the These principles are quite strict for CI applicationsright to study the competitive environment but, at the and therefore it can be concluded that there are fewsame time, he/she has the obligation to preserve it. collection techniques able to respect all four prin-For instance, industrial property protection formula ciples. However, the argument in the following sec-such as the Economic Espionage Act or the World tion shows that a collection technique can encompassPatent Office are created to protect companies from differences not in nature but in purpose.trade secrets misappropriation.34 Journal of Competitive Intelligence and Management • Volume 1 • Number 3 • Winter 2003
  12. 12. Global Code of Ethics and Competitive Intelligence Purposes: an Ethical Perspective on CompetitorsVariable 4: Competitive information collected will be used for defensive pur-Intelligence Purposes poses. Defensive intelligence can have three main This final section will focus on the strategic rea- objectives: forecasting a threat, maintaining the statussons of decision-makers for their intelligence gather- quo, and protecting the firm from illegal/unethicaling processes. The concept of the four purposes in action. It represents a sort of protective but activecompetitive intelligence was introduced by Tena and commitment of a company to its environment.Comai (2001) and relates to the reasons that decisionmakers have for requesting information. Intelligence Independent of the objective, intelligence pur-purposes can be defined as the way in which informa- poses can vary over time and the type of project. Fortion is employed or used in the company, in accor- instance neutral intelligence can change to collabora-dance with top management’s objectives and priori- tive intelligence when it detects that the study inties (Tena & Comai, 2001). Sometimes, purposes an- question may deal with opportunity. In contrast, neu-nounce the strategic objective of the company at a tral intelligence can evolve into defensive intelligencespecific time. The four purposes are: or morph into rival intelligence when management’s perception of the environment becomes more com- 1. Neutral Intelligence petitive. This type of intelligence is collected by scanningthe environment for a general purpose. When firms Building the Modelstart exploring a new market, or when they want to This next section of this article introduces a frame-detect possible changes in an unknown environment, work that selects the collection techniques accordingthey will adopt a neutral or general posture. Usually, to the variables previously discussed. To accomplishneutral intelligence is the first to be used in an this, two main assumptions are first discussed andexplorative phase and will be followed by other types subsequently the framework that will generate a spe-of intelligence gathering as shown below. cific code of ethics will be discussed. 2. Rival Intelligence Awareness This type of intelligence focuses on competitors. Intelligence purposes will have a significant influ-In this scenario, the information that decision makers ence on moral consciousness and attitude. Paine (1991)need can be very specific. Firms collect information observed that “the traditional ideal (business practice)because they want to “outsmart, outmaneuver, or recognizes a fine but important distinction betweenoutwit the other contenders” (Fahey, 1998). using competitor information constructively to guide strategy formulation and using it destructively to 3. Collaborative Intelligence undo the competition. This distinction is largely a This type of intelligence tends to support a mutual matter of the attitude or spirit in which economicenrichment with the other party. Intelligence is used rivalry is undertaken rather than its results.” Onceprimarily to understand if the other competitor or strategic purposes are converted into intelligence pur-firm is suitable for a possible partnership. A good poses and formally declared or maybe perceived byexample is when the firm’s intelligence unit is en- the collector, they will have a significant influence ongaged to help a due diligence activity. the individuals gathering information. CI analysts have to identify the strategic implication of the infor- 4. Defensive Intelligence mation and the reasons why internal clients need that Defensive intelligence deals with a type of collec- type of information. By evaluating these needs andtion activity where the company wants to preserve its applications, purposes become promptly available toposition in the competitive environment according to the researcher. Once purposes are identified they willrules, laws, and business activities. Here the defensive start to play an important role. Here the assumption isintelligence is a proactive gathering process where the that once the purposes are understood, people willJournal of Competitive Intelligence and Management • Volume 1 • Number 3 • Winter 2003 35
  13. 13. Comaihave a different posture/attitude in the intelligence defensive purposes. It would be slightly different ifprocess. Imagine you are a professor of a graduate these instruments were used to detect competitors’course in CI in which the final project for a student is activity with no defensive or security purpose. Theto monitor and analyze a company. Consider the same approval of the Economic Espionage Act in 1996,situation in which a student is told that the research which authorizes agents of the Federal Bureau ofwill serve not only for an examination, but for infor- Investigation to investigate and fight trade secretmation input to a competitor. Would the student act crimes, shows how far government investigation canand plan the research differently? When Berger (1998) be applied under defensive purposes. To a certainhad to deal with his first collection effort on a com- extent, defensive purpose seems to support morepetitor retail price list, he was able to test directly how permissive arguments to legitimize the action. Aslying makes people nervous. Berger’s example dem- such, this infers greater permissiveness for a companyonstrated that research behavior can be affected by to adopt some aggressive techniques when faced withpersonal moral consciousness about what is right or a defensive situation rather than any other type ofincorrect. situation.Inducement Rival Purposes One of the main objectives for the discussion of On the other hand, there is rival purpose. Anthis assumption is to understand how far intelligence example of rival purposes can be seen in the case ofpurposes play a key role as selection criteria. The the U.S. Court of Appeal where a judge decided not tofamous statement “The ends justify the means” that condone photos of a chemical plant taken from the airNiccolÚ Machiavelli coined in his 1513 book, Il Principe because it was supposed that the photos were taken(Anselmi, Menetti, & Varotti, 1993), provides the start- for purposes of industrial espionage even if the piloting point for a discussion of the relationship that may claimed that the air space was free (Johnson & Maguire,exist between purposes and mediums. Entirely against 1988). The judge recognized that, even if the firm hadthe principle of autonomy, the “Machiavellian” idea been aware of the threat and its vulnerability and thesuggests how far or closed this thinking could be in impossibility of taking countermeasures, the otherthe mind of the practitioner. The discussion of what firm did not have the right to get that information. Inthe different implications are between the intelligence some aspects, this activity deals with the previouspurposes comes from questions that are not easy to principle of harmlessness. “Once you start trying toanswer. For instance, do I have the right to address find information that your competitors are protecting,competitors’ employees, without resorting to direct then you enter risky territory” (Fuld, 1988). Therefore,questions? Do I have the right to sit outside a com- rival purposes induce less permissiveness regardingpany and observe their movement? Do I have the collection processes.right to use technological instruments to acquire manu-facturing processes? Each purpose will now be dis- Cooperative Purposescussed in a specific context Cooperative purpose may offer more permissive- ness to the researcher rather than rival intelligence.Defensive Intelligence The idea is that, in this game, the two companies Defensive intelligence is a good starting point to would add greater value and mutual benefit fromintroduce the discussion. As defined previously, de- their involvement in the research. Due diligence is afensive intelligence represents the active engagement good example to illustrate a case where the intentionof a company to find information regarding hostile, is to build a partnership and so the researcher isunethical and illegal rival activities. There are several allowed to directly reach the company and ask forexamples that can illustrate the concept. For instance, references and detailed information.surveillance instruments such as cameras are used for36 Journal of Competitive Intelligence and Management • Volume 1 • Number 3 • Winter 2003
  14. 14. Global Code of Ethics and Competitive Intelligence Purposes: an Ethical Perspective on CompetitorsNeutral Purposes Neutral purpose is used constantly in systematicintelligence activity. A good example of neutral intelli-gence is when firms investigate three foreign markets Level 0for selling their product. Neutral purpose does not All Collection Techniquesseem to induce collectors into a conflict. Business ContextThe Ethical Framework: CombiningVariables and the Code of Ethics Level 1 Context It is postulated that a sound base for an ethical 1st Set of Collection Techniquesdiscussion on competitor intelligence starts when per-sonal and corporate moral codes apply to more than Cultural Contextone issue at a time. Indeed, Kohlberg’s (1981) post-conventional level will only be achieved when people Level 2 Acceptanceapply moral consciousness to more complex issues. 2nd Set of Collection TechniquesThe intention here is to integrate some of the keyvariables previously discussed into a single model Purposesthat establishes a selective process that will help anorganization to define its own collection techniques. Level 3 Decision & Action SupportThe starting point of the model is the recognition that 3rd Set of Collection Techniquesany possible collection technique available for com-petitive research will be accepted by the companyaccording to its business environmental, its cultural FIGURE 2: THE ETHICAL COLLECTIONcontext and its intelligence purposes. The final out- TECHNIQUE FILTERcome corresponds to a set of collection techniqueswhich will be sanctioned by the corporation. Figure 2 shows a process that employs 3 different are difficult to perceive from an external and evenfilters to achieve the final outcome. First, all possible internal perspective. In any project, there could becollection techniques are considered in the model some hidden purposes that the investigator does not(Level 0) and are compared with the business context. see immediately.Those collection techniques that are considered ac-ceptable according to a country’s regulatory and legal An Approach to a Multinational Code: thestandards will pass through to the next filter (Level 1). Common Mental SpectrumThe second filter is to compare the remaining collec- This last section deals with the way an individualtion techniques with the second variable: culture. classifies a collection technique and how this couldOnce the collection techniques are selected and mor- differ with regard to the degree of permissiveness.ally accepted (Level 2), the final filter compares them This difference could be the same when the chosenwith reference to the strategic purposes of the organi- techniques are compared between two parties. Inzation. This step gives a set of accepted and legitimate other words, individuals will have proportional dif-collection techniques that can be applied according to ferences in their evaluation of collection techniquesthe type of intelligence activity (Level 3). even if they have different backgrounds in business This model requires an adaptive approach to the contexts and culture. This debate originated fromorganization, in accordance with the four intelligence various studies where attitudinal variables ware com-purposes. Even if the organization adopts a rigid code pared between different groups of respondentsof ethics, purposes allow the company four choices in (Furash, 1959; Wall, 1974; Hallaq & Steinhorst, 1994).any situation. There are several implicit purposes that A graphical explanation is illustrated in Figure 3Journal of Competitive Intelligence and Management • Volume 1 • Number 3 • Winter 2003 37
  15. 15. Comaiwhich presents four main collection techniques: nor-mal, aggressive, unethical, and illegal. The areas are Normal Aggressive Unethical Illegaldelineated by three boundaries. Figure 3 also pro-poses 3 people, A, B, and C that have to evaluate a setof techniques according to their own beliefs. Thesegments (1), (2) and (3) will represent the collectiontechnique. All three people now classify the collection Technique 1 a-b1techniques by marking a point on the area that theybelieve to be convenient and afterwards, draw a line a-b2that combines all solutions. Technique 2 On the horizontal axis of the matrix shown inFigure 3, it can be observed that the solutions from A, FIGURE 3 – COMMON MENTAL SPECTRUM b-c 2B, and C are different. However, each solution differsproportionately as illustrated from the segments a-b, a-c3b-c and a-c that connect A with B, B with C and A with Technique 3C. In other words, between A, B, and C there is adifferent degree of permissiveness (a-b, b-c and a-c),however, this degree will remain constant in any of Different Sample: A, B and Cthe situations. For example, the degree between A and Degree of PermissivenessB, when the answer is given to question 1 (a1-b1), willbe the same for the answer of question 2 (a2-b2).Person A will be the most permissive individual and,in contrast, C will be the individual with the mostmoral restraints. Moreover, A, B, and C can also refer Conclusionto homogenous groups of people. The primary objective of this article was to de- The supposition of this article is that the spectrum velop a framework to guide development of ethicalwill be the same. This does not mean that people will codes of conduct for CI activity. The article concludesaccept similar techniques but, rather, they will have with three summary points:proportional divergences in the way they classify collec-tion techniques. This last assumption can give rise to a Robust Codes Reduce Conflicts.few speculations. One is the idea that multinationals Codifying what the company is or is not allowedwill now have access to a new framework prior to the to do, is often the traditional starting point for thebuilding of a global code of ethics. The way that multi- long journey into the rough terrain of legal and ethicalnational firms can accomplish this is by trying to edu- code building. This approach, however, will not helpcate their various country level units that have more solve the entire spectrum of conceivable ethical dilem-permissiveness to alienate their degree of permissive- mas that invariably arise. For this reason, companiesness to the level expected from headquarters. Once the require a holistic ethical structure that permits theeducation has been achieved to a satisfactory level, all introduction of an ethical conscience to resolve ethicalcountry level units will act by using the same frame- dilemmas. Indeed, even if ethical standards are wellwork. Hence, the code of ethics will be accepted by the defined and legitimized by the company’s legal de-whole corporation. In this way, the universal company partment, collectors will inevitably be confronted withethical codes will be able to include cultural and socio- new dilemmas. Therefore, an adaptive model is neededeconomic factors as discussed early in the article and and a continuous learning process should be adoptedintroduced by Cohen, Pant, and Sharp. (1992). by firms who aspire to be highly ethical.38 Journal of Competitive Intelligence and Management • Volume 1 • Number 3 • Winter 2003
  16. 16. Global Code of Ethics and Competitive Intelligence Purposes: an Ethical Perspective on CompetitorsPurposes as Key Variables in Solving viewing, correcting, and enhancing higher ethicalDilemmas values of the firm. This model applies several variables to the selec- As the issue of business ethics illustrates, corpo-tion process of the final collection technique. The rate social responsibility is not only focused on actionselection can follow a normative process (step by step) but on significant corporate strategic positioning.to a conclusion with a restricted set of collection Therefore, ethics cannot be thought of only at theactivities that will be validated by the entire organiza- second level of “If a competitor would do it, I will dotion (see Figure 2). Intelligence purposes, the last the same”. Cohen and Czepiec (1988) argue thatvariable of the model, play a central role: first, by practitioners assume that they could legitimize dis-selecting the technique according to the context and honest gathering techniques only to the extent thatsecond, by solving possible ethical conflicts. competitors are adopting the same or more aggressive techniques. A global ethical conduct enhances a cor-Common Mental Structures Induce the porate identity not only for the organization whenUniversal Nature of the Code. thought of as “aims by itself” but it also increases its People have a common path when they choose competitive standing. Horowitz (1999) argues thatbetween collection techniques. They will differ in the “seeking competitive information in a legal and ethi-permissiveness which induces their thinking regard- cal manner is an integral component of healthy com-ing the variable to work on. When a company wants petition”. A positive attitude is representative forto establish a universal code, however, the very per- other players and may prevent future unethical atti-missiveness variable itself becomes the key driver. In tudes.other words, to elevate the grade of ethical awareness,a corporation should work to reduce the grade of Implications for the Future of CIpermissiveness. By using cultural awareness training This article offers a new conceptual frameworkprograms, which have been shown to be an influential that helps build ethical boundaries between informa-instrument (Delaney & Sockell, 1992), firms can ac- tion techniques and helps resolve ethical dilemmastively reduce unethical behavior. that can arise in competitive intelligence and/or com- If collection techniques are included in the code of petitor information gathering. Moreover, this articleethics as examples, employees will have a better presents a new approach to the treatment of a globalguide to follow through which to put corporate ethi- corporate ethical consciousness by identifying simi-cal policy into practice. To encourage better ethical larities in individual behavior. Possible implicationsattitudes, the collection activity should be developed of this model for the future of CI are an improvedinternally by the firm’s own personnel. If interna- protection of competitor stakeholders, improved pro-tional research is done using external recruiters, it is tection of firms and CI professionals from legal action,important to examine their ethical beliefs. Klein (1998) and an improved protection of the firm’s reputationasserts that it is convenient to establish ethical guide- as well as that of the CI profession.lines and discuss them with the consultancy firmbefore starting the project. A code of ethics should not Notesbe merely adopted as a protective perspective but 1. FM 34-60, Appendix A, Counter-Human Intelli-should also enhance the morals and values of the gence Techniques and Procedures. (see the point: “A-organization. Although the first perspective is the I-6. Elicitation”). The term “interview” is the legalmost persuasive argument for establishing a code of correspondent of interrogation. It is illegal to compel aconduct, the second perspective should also be con- person to talk. This military “field manual” can besidered as equally important. Ethics should be part of obtained from: <http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/the corporate learning scheme as suggested by Lozano army/fm34-37/ref.htm>.(2002). It should be integrated in the whole organiza-tion and should employ systematic processes for re-Journal of Competitive Intelligence and Management • Volume 1 • Number 3 • Winter 2003 39
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  20. 20. Global Code of Ethics and Competitive Intelligence Purposes: an Ethical Perspective on CompetitorsSpence, L.J., Coles, A-M. and L. Harris. (2001). “The Forgotten Stakeholder? Ethics and Social Responsibility in Relation to Competitors,” Business and Society Review 106(4): 331-353.Tena, J. and A. Comai (2001). “Los PropÛsitos de la Inteligencia en la Empresa: Competidora, Cooperativa, Neutral e Individual,” El profesional de la InformaciÛn 10(5): 4-10.Trevino, L.K. and G.R. Weaver. (1997). “Ethical Issues in Competitive Intelligence Practice: Ambiguities, Conflicts, and Challenges,” Competitive Intelligence Review 8(1): 61-72.Washington Researchers (1998). How Competitors Learn Your Company’s Secrets. Washington, DC: Washington Researchers Ltd.Wall, J.L. (1974). “What the Competition is Doing: Your Need to Know,” Harvard Business Review, 52(6): 22-38, 162-166.Weiss, A. (2001). “Competitive Intelligence Ethics: How Far Can Primary Research Go?” Competitive Intelligence Magazine 4(6): 18-21.Vella, C.M. and J.J. McGonagle. (1988). Improved Business Planning Using Competitive Intelligence. Westport, CT: Quorum Books.Wilson, I. (2000). The New Rules of Corporate Conduct: Rewriting the Social Charter. Westport, CT: Quorum Books.Journal of Competitive Intelligence and Management • Volume 1 • Number 3 • Winter 2003 43

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