Competitive Intelligence: What’s Unethical About It?

Posted March 21st, 2011 by The Environment Site with No Comments

Where would you draw the line at collecting intelligence about competitors?

A new survey by consulting firm Fuld & Co. shows that while financial services firms and tech companies might be the most aggressive in collecting intelligence, other industries aren’t that far behind. As reported by the WSJ, “104 business executives were presented with hypothetical scenarios that gave 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.””

The results seem partly on target, but mostly worrying.

For example, “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.”

The result: “Most industries rated removing the ID badge as aggressive, while health-care and pharmaceutical executives thought it was unethical.”

But the report didn’t restrict the questions to public forum etiquette. “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.”

Result: “Every industry thought the tactic was unethical except for government, which merely found it aggressive.”

While I’ll let you get over the fact that this scenario suggests our government has a completely different outlook on ethical behavior, overall the report seems to give health care and pharmaceutical brownie points for being squeamish about their approaches.

One factor detailed by the Journal: The level of regulation weighs heavily on the consequent level of squeamishness.

While each industry seems to be toeing its own line of ethics vs. competitive intelligence, risk for most means higher profits, and as Larry Kahaner, author of Competitive Intelligence says in the report, “The more money that’s involved, the less squeamish people become. “If companies have gotten away with stuff over the years, they don’t clean up their act.”

Is it then okay to assume that the surveyed companies probably have some sort of written guidelines on intel collection?

A third, says the report, neither have guidelines nor do they share them with employees. What you don’t know doesn’t hurt. Right?

–By Aman Singh, Vault.com

Aman Singh is the Senior Editor, Corporate Responsibility with Vault.com and the author of Vault’s CSR blog: In Good Company. Her area of work includes corporate social responsibility, diversity practices and sustainability, and how they translate into recruitment and strategic development at companies. Connect with her on Twitter @VaultCSR.

Picture Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/howardlake/3699665986

We are looking for more bloggers – Apply today

Posted March 16th, 2011 by The Environment Site with No Comments

We need more bloggers as TheEnvironmentSite.org is moving into its next development phase. Over the next few weeks we are planning to increase our coverage of environmental, sustainability and reponsible business (CSR) topics from across the globe.

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If so why not get in touch and start or continue your blogging career with us. Just fill out the form below and we will be in touch shortly.

On the proper way to limit overpopulation

Posted February 22nd, 2011 by The Environment Site with No Comments

There are people who say that there is no overpopulation, and there are people who say that there is overpopulation but we shouldn’t do anything about it. I say that there is overpopulation and we should do something about it, but this article of mine is not about convincing people of this approach. I search for the answer to this question instead: how to limit population size in the proper way if we want to? I share my best current thoughts about the topic, allowing you to evaluate and rethink them.

Overpopulation was not a big problem in the ancient times, because wars, famine and diseases kept population size in its natural limits. The rise of civilizations and technology seems to have changed this situation, because we can feed many of the hungry in Africa, and we can cure most of the diseases, and we do it, because we are humane. Even wars cannot control population growth properly now, because we should not risk a nuclear war. If these three things – war, famine and disease – are not available to control population size, what other options do we have?

Some thinkers may come up with the advice „Go back to nature”, which would mean we should force mankind back to a state similar to the one which was prior to civilization. There are two problems with this approach. The first is that most of us don’t want to lose the advantages of civilization, for example comfort, security, power and information. The second problem is that the „Go back to nature” principle cannot be brought into effect in practice. At least it cannot be brought into practice in our times.

We can see one thing in common in war, famine and disease: all control overpopulation by increasing the number of deaths. As we don’t want this, we have only two options: the first is to find another planets to live, the other is to limit the number of births. As finding another planets to live seems to be a hard-to-believe option, we have to think on the possibility about limiting the number of births. After a so long introduction we can continue with the main thoughts of my writing.

The question is how we could limit the number of births in a sustainable, liberal and ethical manner. If some people may voluntarily choose not to have children, or to have less children, because of environmental thinking, then it is probable that in evolutionary time those would proliferate who don’t care for the environment as much and cannot control their instincts. Thus this solution wouldn’t be sustainable in evolutionary time, and it wouldn’t be just either. We have to compete for the rights of reproduction, because this is the law of natural selection.

There are some laws which control the way how we compete for reproduction, for example the law which says „Do not kill” or the one which says „Do not steal”. Other laws may be created to limit birth rates, like the one-child-policy in China. I can see two problems with the one-child-policy: firstly, it’s not liberal, and secondly, it doesn’t seem to be sustainable in evolutionary time, because those would proliferate who beget triplets. The conclusion from this is that birth control laws should work as evolution works.

We have come to the conclusion which we may call the principle of birth control: The more able, the more useful and the more fit for life should be encouraged to reproduce, and the less able, the less useful and the less fit for life should not reproduce or should have only one child. Implementations of this principle may differ in time and place, whether is should be measured by money or something else, how liberal it should be, whether punishment is necessary or is reward enough for the children of the compliers, and whether or not those may be encouraged to have a sexual relationship who should not beget children. After all, the principle remains the same, unless we can go to another planets to live. This principle would make the lives of the children better, because they would get the wealth they need. This principle would also help to reduce the monetary differences between people, because the money which would be inherited would be distributed between the children.

Until now, I couldn’t find a better solution than this, so I encourage people to start thinking about how to implement it.

Written by Arpad Fekete, a member of TheEnvironmentSite.org

Picture Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/48722974@N07/4538714228

Top Tips for a Green Valentine’s day

Posted February 11th, 2011 by The Environment Site with No Comments

1. Flowers:
Don’t just buy any flowers or bouquets that look nice! Go to your local florist and ask what the most eco-friendly option would be. If you don’t have a florist around you just look around for organic flowers. It should be pretty easy to find some in the big supermarkets. Actually, I think I spotted some in Waitrose last week.

2. Cards:
You surely must have heard how bad paper is for the environment. If you want to wish something to your loved one why don’t just say it? If you are a bit more creative and you want to write a poem why not sing it? If you are too shy and you want to stick with a card that is still fine. Just make sure it is made out of recycled paper or you can even create it yourself from used magazines.

3. Champagne and Chocolates:
Everyone loves champagne but the problem is that it comes with a bottle and that can’t be good. Do a bit of research before buying a bottle of champagne or wine and find out which is the one with the most eco-friendly packaging. Make sure you recycle the bottle afterwards. Chocolates shouldn’t cause you too much trouble. Just grab an organic chocolate bar from your local store. There are plenty of them and they taste just as good as regular chocolate bars, if not better.

4. Hand Made Gifts:
There are plenty of products in the shops that your partner might like but what about a little creativity coming from you? Very often during a house clearance, and especially during an office clearance, I come across things that could make the perfect gift. Just be a bit creative with your old stuff in the house and I guarantee you that the end result will be much more appreciated! After all it’s the thought that counts.

5. Going out
Go for a romantic walk in the park. If you want to go to a specific location that is a bit further, use your bike. If the place is too far for a bike ride and you need to get on a plane you can catch a green flight! There are a lot of airlines that are already considered to be eco-friendly and others that are still testing the technology.

Picture Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/humayunnapeerzaada/542663397

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