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New on the management blog: Collecting ethical intelligence

In his latest blog post on Ethical Corporation’s CR Management blog, Oliver Balch looks at how companies can collect intelligence ethically.

Knowing what’s going on in your country, sector or in the activist community is one thing, unethical or illegal snooping of course, is quite another.

Balancing the two is a management challenge which has some parallels to anti-corruption activities.

In the anti-corruption world, managing what agents or satellite offices do in your name is key. It’s not usually (although sometimes it is) head office that signs off on bribes.

Similarly with intelligence gathering. It’s heads of security and the agents they employ that need training and monitoring.

Equally, companies need to keep an eye on their PR/public affairs/lobbying firms.

Recent cases in France demonstrate the need for vigilance. Older cases show how past practices can come back to haunt big businesses many years later.

In emerging and developing markets campaigning NGOs often lack the credibility and respect they enjoy in Europe and the US.

As a result one can imagine some local executives signing off on tactics they would not countenance in Europe or America, which may come back to bite them one day.

Microsoft’s recent experience in Russia shows what can happen when head office fails to monitor how ethics are being put into action in an emerging market.

Oliver offers some useful advice on dealing with intelligence issues here.

The full article, which is our cover story for April’s edition of the magazine, is here.

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