Competitive intelligence ethics

Every competitive intelligence analyst should be aware of the SCIP code of ethics:

  • To continually strive to increase the recognition and respect of the profession
  • To comply with all applicable laws, domestic and international
  • To accurately disclose all relevant information, including one's identity and organization, prior to all interviews
  • To avoid conflicts of interest in fulfilling one's duties
  • To provide honest and realistic recommendations and conclusions in the execution of one's duties
  • To promote this code of ethics within one's company, with third-party contractors and within the entire profession
  • To faithfully adhere to and abide by one's company policies, objectives and guidelines

But this is not the only code of ethics that competitive intelligence analysts might want to abide by. There are at least a couple of others. One is the code of ethics of the Association of Independent Information Professionals:

  • Uphold the profession's reputation for honesty, competence, and confidentiality
  • Give clients the most current and accurate information possible within the budget and time frames provided by the clients
  • Help clients understand the sources of information used and the degree of reliability which can be expected from those sources
  • Accept only those projects which are legal and are not detrimental to our profession.
  • Respect client confidentiality
  • Recognize intellectual property rights
  • Respect licensing agreements and other contracts. Explain to clients what their obligations might be with regard to intellectual property rights and licensing agreements
  • Maintain a professional relationship with libraries and comply with all their rules of access
  • Assume responsibility for employees' compliance with this code

A third code of ethics is that of the Special Libraries Association:

  • Act with honesty, fairness and in good faith in serving and providing value to their employers, clients, and vendors
  • Provide their employer, organization, or clients with the highest level of service, by delivering the best sources and services possible within organizational constraints and by improving the quality of and adding value to the information and knowledge they provide
  • Enhance employer success by contributing to the mission, goals, policies and strategies of the organization
  • Respect the intellectual property of their employers, clients and competitors, and within the legal and ethical constraints of the organization, inform their clients or employers of potential legal and ethical violations in the provision of sources or services
  • Honor the privacy, rights, and reputation of individuals and organizations in the proper use of information content regardless of format or medium, adhering to the best practices of ensuring confidentiality
  • Strive for excellence by seeking and maintaining professional knowledge and competencies in intellectual and information technologies in themselves, their colleagues, their organization and other professionals, including education for information literacy
  • Represent themselves accurately concerning their education, competencies and experience to their employers, clients, colleagues and other professionals
  • Avoid conflicts of interest while in the performance of their work

All three codes are slightly different yet fulfill the same purpose: they encourage a good level of integrity and quality in research projects.