Ethical and Unethical Knowledge Sharing

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There are laws in place and many companies do have employees sign a noncompeting agreement. However the knowledge an employee shares when they leave one company to work for a competitor may or may not be considered ethical even if it is not against the law or in violation of an agreement. Practicing good ethics means competing fairly and honestly, communicating truthfully and not causing harm to others. (Boveé, Thill, Mescon, 2007, pg. 65) Sharing overall knowledge gained by experience or education are examples of ethical knowledge that can be shared with a new employer. Sharing specific product information or trade secrets are not ethical to share. Experiences that you gained knowledge from such as workflow that assists with productivity, time management, cost effectiveness, or organization are transferable skills. For example if I left one health care business to work for another it would be ethical for me to share knowledge I have regarding how to transport patients safely or how to collect specimens. Knowledge you have from your degree or educational back ground is also considered ethical to share. For example sharing programming fundamentals from a visual basic course I have taken. This knowledge is ethical to share because it will not impede fair competition or cause direct harm to others. Knowledge from your previous employer regarding specific products, trade secrets, confidential information, or contact lists is not ethical to share with your new employer. This knowledge directly belongs to your previous employer and is not considered transferable skills that you have gained personally. As an example from the previous scenario of ethical knowledge to share it would not be ethical for me to share patient contact lists or to download and share specific programming code from my previous employer that was used. This knowledge would give the competitor an unfair edge, impede fair competition, and cause harm to others. As a general rule, the...
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