Title page for ETD etd-02092005-112230


Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Odendaal, Bernardus Johannes
URN etd-02092005-112230
Document Title Competitive Intelligence with specific reference to the challenges facing the Competitive Intelligence Professional in South Africa
Degree M (Security Studies)
Department Political Sciences
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Prof M Hough
Keywords
  • South African Association of Competitive Intellige
  • Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals
  • intelligence users
  • intelligence producers
  • intelligence cycle
  • industrial espionage
  • dissemination
  • C1 professional
  • decision-makers
  • data collection
  • counterintelligence
  • competitive intelligence
  • analysis
Date 2004-02-12
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Natural tension exists between decision-makers and intelligence professionals. The main problems involve control over the gathering, interpretation, presentation, and the use of intelligence products in the decision-making process. Competitive intelligence (CI) professionals are rarely in a management position, and few managers and decision-makers have the necessary understanding of the value of intelligence products and thus intelligence is often misused or discarded. This situation results in intelligence failures and inappropriate strategic decisions by management.

The methodology for the study was to determine the perceptions of CI professionals with regard to the current state of affairs of the CI function in the private sector. The study was conducted among members (n=74) of the South African Association of Competitive Intelligence Professionals. An overview of the development of CI within the South African context was also done, and interviews with key personalities practising CI in South Africa were conducted.

The results indicated that many issues and challenges still face the CI professional in the South African environment, such as control over intelligence and the way in which it is used. There is a worrying tendency of third parties gathering intelligence, resulting in a situation where plausible denial is possible. Management perception/ignorance of the capabilities of intelligence in the decision-making process still needs to be addressed. There is also a need for recognition among CI professionals with regard to standards and representation. The CI field is still almost exclusively a male-dominated industry, with high barriers of entry in terms of academic qualifications.

The conclusions are that a greater understanding of the requirements and needs of decision-makers, with regard to intelligence products, should be created. Decision-makers also need to understand the limits of intelligence products, and that intelligence products can only be compiled from information that has been gathered in a legal and ethical way. CI professionals have the responsibility to develop an indigenous body of knowledge as a means of making CI an accepted business practice and an indispensable tool in management decision-making.

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