Competitive Intelligence describes market research on competitor firms. Apparently, there is an accent on “Intelligence”. This terms suggests under-cover and a bit subversive information gains, applying special methods and technology applications  similar to intelligence services. Methodology and technology applications may range from illegal to legal means. Within the legal area, there again may be a certain bandwidth of activity, ranging from legitimate down to illegitimate proceedings. Subsequently, any contractor or research unit working within the field of Competitive Intelligence is challenged by ethical and legal issues.

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