Benchmarking competitive intelligence activity

Helen N. Rothberg, Marist College
G. Scott Erickson, Ithaca College


This paper reports on results drawn from a comprehensive database formed from public financial reports and a proprietary benchmarking survey conducted by a major competitive intelligence consulting firm. Our overall aim is to identify different circumstances in which knowledge development and knowledge protection have greater or lesser importance. Very little work has been done on a industry-wide (or wider) basis concerning intellectual capital and/or competitive intelligence activities in firms and how that may vary according to circumstances. The wider study and database are designed to better address such questions. In this study, we look at one piece of this overall research program, specifically how competitive intelligence activity varies in distinctive environments. Based on these results, as practitioners better understand their environments, they can make better decisions on the level and aggressiveness of their own CI operations as well as on protection and counterintelligence efforts. The results will also begin to move scholarly work in the field into these new areas of macro studies and strategic choices.