Can a business be ethical? What are the goals of competitive intelligence? Is it ethical to gather competitive intelligence?

Yes, a business can be ethical, but few if any businesses will be viewed as ethical by everyone. Competitive intelligence is information that can be used to make a business more competitive. It can be acquired or used ethically or unethically.

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There is no theoretical reason why a business cannot be ethical. However, since systems of ethics differ, it is very unlikely that any given business will be judged to be entirely ethical by everybody in all circumstances.

Businesses that take strong political positions will be judged unethical by those who...

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There is no theoretical reason why a business cannot be ethical. However, since systems of ethics differ, it is very unlikely that any given business will be judged to be entirely ethical by everybody in all circumstances.

Businesses that take strong political positions will be judged unethical by those who do not agree with those positions. Some businesses, such as those that trade in meat, dairy products, and animal skins, will be judged unethical by substantial minorities in society, like vegans. Such examples will often be called unethical even if their business and accounting practices are as scrupulous as possible.

The goal of competitive intelligence is to use information to enhance the competitiveness of a business. This might be information about the business's main competitors, consumer preferences, or something else altogether. There is nothing inherently unethical about competitive intelligence, though it might be gathered or used unethically. As with the general ethics of a business, different people will have different ethical standards. Some people will say that as long as the business stays within the law, it is acting ethically. Others will view the use of competitive intelligence to drive other firms out of business as unethical, even if the intelligence has been gathered honestly and used within the confines of the law.

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