Normal, aggressive, unethical, or illegal

**By JOE LIGHT Article

“Fuld & Co., a competitive-intelligence consultant based in Cambridge, Mass., presented 104 business executives with hypothetical scenarios that would give the executive an opportunity to collect intel about a competitor, but straddled the ethical line. Participants could rate the scenario as “normal,” “aggressive,” “unethical,” or “illegal.”

One scenario asked whether it was all right for the executive to remove his identification badge during a trade show, which would make it easier to speak to competitors without them knowing his identity. Most industries rated removing the ID badge as aggressive, while health-care and pharmaceutical executives thought it was unethical.

In another scenario, the executives were asked if it was alright to sign up for an interview at a rival company’s job fair to see what they could learn from a recruiter. Every industry thought the tactic was unethical except for government, which merely found it aggressive.

Overall, financial-services and technology companies were the most comfortable with the scenarios presented, while health-care and pharmaceutical companies were the most squeamish, according to the survey, which was completed in the third quarter of last year.

“Companies have different senses of what’s right and wrong,” said Fuld & Co. President Leonard Fuld.” – Article


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