The Intelligence Function and Business Competition

by Ralph Cassady



This article discusses the importance and general nature of the intelligence function and business competition. Businessmen are constantly employing commercial intelligence in their operations and students of marketing imply its existence in their analysis of marketing problems. Competitive behavior involves market moves and countermoves designed to attract or retain patronage, by a firm exerting competitive effort toward this end. It should be clear from the foregoing that commercial intelligence is very important to the success of a firm in any dynamic competitive situation, and, in fact, that a vendor cannot compete without market knowledge gained through such activities. While the duties connected with this function are usually discharged by the use of existing bibliographical data, by checking on competitors' activities in the market place, or by seeking information from consumers through the use of surveys, occasionally actual espionage measures are employed. This type of activity is unethical and, under certain conditions, even illegal and, of course, is not condoned. in business theory or practice.

California Management Review

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