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MGT 488 Week 2-DQ3




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What role do ethics play in competitor intelligence gathering?
Ethics are an important part of competitor intelligence gathering. James Bond and corporate
espionage are often synonymous with competitor intelligence gathering. Competitors have
performed illegal acts of theft all the way to digging in trash cans to gather information. Some of
these practices may not be illegal; however, they can be unethical. Disguising people as
employees, digging in the trash, etc. may not be illegal but they certainly can be unethical.
Obtaining competitive advantage does have some limitations. Some of these are limitations are
broken illegally, such as copyright infringement, while other limitations are broken unethically.
Ethics are an important role to competitor information gathering because investors will be
happier to work with a company that practices ethical behavior rather than unethical behavior.
At what point does the quest for competitor information become unethical?
Obviously some practices between competitors are acceptable. As Hitt, Ireland, and Hoskisson
(2009) state, “obtaining publicly available information (e.g., court records, competitors’ help-
wanted advertisements, annual reports, financial reports of publicly held corporations, and
Uniform Commercial Code filings)” (p. 60) is acceptable. However, as actions become more
enigmatic, unethical behavior is typically the result (e.g. hacking computers or stealing
What practices, although legal, might be considered unethical?
Practices that are legal but considered unethical may include looking through competitor’s
garbage, hiring competitor employees to gain information, or as Hitt, Ireland, and Hoskisson
(2009) state, “a firm may develop Web site addresses that are similar to those of its competitors
and thus occasionally receive e-mail transmissions that were intended for those competitors” (p.
Hitt, M. A., Ireland, R. D., & Hoskisson, R. E. (2009). Strategic Management: Concepts &
Cases Competitiveness and Globalization (8th ed.). Mason, OH: South Western Cengage

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Awesome! Perfect study aid.