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Corporate Esionage: P&G vs. Unilever

Corporate Esionage: P&G vs. Unilever

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Published by subhamoy29
This was a team effort to look into a case of 'corporate espionage'...
This was a team effort to look into a case of 'corporate espionage'...

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Published by: subhamoy29 on Sep 01, 2008
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05/09/2014

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Eye-Spy
A case study on corporate espionage
In an attempt to understand & assimilate the anaspect of ‘Corporate Behavior’ we study this real-life example of corporate misdoing & unethicalpractice.
The Pentagon6/4/2008
 
P
ART
1
W
HAT
 
IS
‘C
ORPORATE
E
SPIONAGE
’?
In an attempt to understand the deep rooted meaning of the term ‘CorporateEspionage’, coined over the years with the steady or rather unsteady devel-opment of the corporate structure in our working environment, we wouldtrace the etymological way; just as the purists do. To begin with, ‘Corporate’initially meant ‘united in one body’ (1398, from L.
corporatus
or
corpus
whichmeans body
1
). However, in due course of time the term & the connotationsattached with it finally paved way for the new age definition which is ‘per-taining to a corporation or a group come together for a common goal’. Mov-ing onto ‘Espionage’, it means ‘the systematic use of spies to get military,political or industrial secrets’ (1793, from Fr.
espionnage
2
). Now going back towhere we started, ‘Corporate Espionage’ basically suggests impregnating acorporate system or structure with spies or systems so as to facilitate leak-age of information which could in all probability mar the growth, financialstability & the prospects of the victim organization to have sustained devel-opment in future.Now that we have defined what the purists have to say about ‘Corporate Es-pionage’ let’s look at it from an objective point of view so as to understandthe magnitude of malpractices that comes under the umbrella of this termin-ology. Now at this juncture, it’s essential to make a clear demarcationbetween the terms ‘Corporate or Industrial Espionage’ & ‘corporate intelli-gence gathering’. ‘Industrial or Corporate Espionage’ is distinct from legal &ethical activities such as examining corporate publications, websites, patentfilings and the like to determine the operations of a corporation. All thesecome under the gamut of ‘Corporate Competitive Intelligence’. ‘Corporate
1
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/corporate
2
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/espionage
 
Espionage’ would cover illicit activities like theft of trade secrets, bribery,blackmail & technological surveillance. And with developments that followedin the recent years, even attempts to sabotage a corporation may be con-sidered corporate espionage. Although from the looks of the definition thedistinction is crystal clear, in practice it is quite difficult to sometimes tell thedifference between legal & illegal methods.
R
EAL
 
LIFE
 
INSTANCES
 
OF
‘C
ORPORATE
E
SPIONAGE
 The increasing number of real life instances of corporate treachery em-boldens the importance of the issue at hand. Here are just a few of the moreprominent instances of real-life corporate espionage:
In 1999, one of the most famous cases of corporate treachery, a Taiwanese company head was arrested as he was convicted to have paidan
Avery Dennison
(U.S. Label manufacturer) employee $160,000 forthe secret formulas for the company’s pressure-sensitive adhesive.
In 1996,
General Motors sued Volkswagen
, charging that GM’s formerhead of production had stolen trade secrets & turned them over to Volk-swagen.
In 2000, Oracle Corporation head Larry Ellison had hired an investigationfirm to dig out embarrassing secrets about Bill Gates headed Microsoft.
In 2001, FBI arrested two employees from
Lucent Technologies
for con-spiring to steal lucent trade secrets & sell them to the Chinese govern-ment.
In 2003, Italian auto manufacturer
Ferrari
charged
Toyota
with stealingthe design for its Formula One racing car.In order to have a detailed understanding of issue at hand, we would bestudying the
Procter & Gamble vs. Unilever
case.

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