Corporate Espionage

Topics: SpongeBob SquarePants, Stephen Hillenburg, Tom Kenny Pages: 2 (438 words) Published: December 5, 2013
Week 8 Ethical Dilemma Essay

Because products tend to become obsolete much faster today than they did thirty or forty years ago, research and development are among the most important activities in modern business. However, it is an expensive activity. Some companies try to save money by paying people to conduct corporate espionage, that is, to spy on competitors' research and development operations. Is such espionage ever morally justifiable?

The temptation to spy on competitors’ is completely justifiable, but the fact that its called espionage, a word that connotes amorality any way you read it, shows that acts of corporate espionage are not justifiable or moral. It’s also illegal.

There’s a fine line between competitive intelligence and corporate espionage. Competitive intelligence is an ethical and legal business practice, it’s the action of defining, gathering, analyzing, and distributing intelligence about products, customers, competitors and any aspect of the environment needed to support executives and managers in making strategic decisions for an organization. This requires that risks and opportunities be identified in a market before they become obvious and also requires extensive competitor analysis. These analyses are taken from market statistics, financial reports, newspaper clippings, and other information released from the company. Corporate espionage on the other hand, includes that acquisition of intellectual property such as information on industrial manufacturing ideas, techniques and processes, recipes, or formulas. It often includes activities such as theft of trade secrets, bribery, blackmail, and unwarranted technological surveillance.

The morality of this issue can be broken down into a simple example using the children’s show Spongebob. Spongebob Squarepants works at the Krusty Krab, home of the Krabby Patty, the most popular burger in all of Bikini Bottom. The Krabby Patty recipe is secret and its secret is what makes it so...
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