Morality and Competitor

10 October 2016

As the chief executive officer of a Silicon Valley software company, you become aware that your chief competitor is working on a new computer program that will revolutionize interactive voice-based applications. You know that if you can find out about several key functions relating to your competitor’s program, your own programmers can duplicate the function of the program without actually copying its code. Is it ethical for you to hire away from your competitor a secretary who may have overheard something that will be useful to you?

Is it ethical for you to send an attractive employee to a bar where your competitor’s programmers hang out in the hope of getting the information you want? Is it ethical for you to have someone hunt up and read everything published by your competitor’s programmers in case they may have let slip something that will help you? In pursuit of profit maximization, many CEOs and Managers no longer look to their moral compass for guidance or adhere to organizational codes of ethics.

Morality and Competitor Essay Example

The need for competitive intelligence as a basis for strategies, questions the methods of collecting such information and often have tongues wagging about what is or is not ethical. Is hiring a competitor’s secretary unethical? The act in its self is not unethical, the Intention is. If the secretary is being hired, not for her skills and abilities but to get her to divulge trade secrets then the act is unethical.

However, it must be pointed out that in the corporate world where ethical acts which are not enforced by the state are regularly ignored, it becomes the responsibility of companies to ensure that all employees sign non-disclosure agreements. Asking an attractive employee to visit a bar where the competition’s employees hang out in the hope of getting information is unethical when one considers the Formalist approach of absolute morality. The act is either right or wrong in every situation.

Is this something the manager would want done to his employees? In essence, it cannot be “right” for the manager when he benefits and “wrong” when his company becomes the victim. It is not unethical to monitor your competitor through reading its publications. “Hunt up” could mean research. The method of acquiring the information may be neither unethical nor illegal. It is the competitor’s responsibility to guard its intellectual property.

Keeping tabs on your competition is simply common sense due diligence. There is nothing unethical about reading/studying competitors’ public statements. Good management demands nothing less as part of your constant assessment of threats and opportunities. References: Essentials of Business Development 2 (2nd ed). (2012). Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill Corporations, Inc. http://www. cbsnews. com/8301-505125_162-51060254/thou-shalt-not-steal-thy-competitors-secrets/

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