Business counterintelligence : sustainable practice or passing fad?

Shear, Christopher James (2009-03)

Thesis (MA (Information Science))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.


Traditional information protection mechanisms are no longer adequately placed to effectively deal with the adversarial threats that have arisen as a result of the rise in importance of knowledge for today’s organisations. Business counterintelligence appears to be a protective entity, which in principle can effectively engage with and mitigate many of these newly manifested threats. Yet, business counterintelligence is also an entity that is accompanied by a great deal of haze and confusion as to its use, implementation and integration within different organisations. This is evident from the literature where there currently exist multiple fragmented definitions of what business counterintelligence is. Organisations may as a result adopt a particular business counterintelligence definition that may not be effective for their context. This can result in the ineffective protection of critical information assets and the misappropriation of organisational resources; something which is not sustainable. This thesis proposes that in order to allay the confusion caused by these differing fragmented definitions, one needs to be able to arrive at a consolidated definition of what constitutes business counterintelligence; this thesis’s primary objective. This has been examined by firstly contextualising business counterintelligence in order to better understand the topic; the information society was used as a backdrop for this purpose. Secondly, an examination of the prevailing views of business counterintelligence and its role within organisations is offered in order to build clarity. Thirdly, a consolidated definition of business counterintelligence is proposed and its implications for different organisations examined. Finally, the implications of this consolidated definition for the sustainability of business counterintelligence are discussed and conclusions based on the evidence presented within the thesis drawn. Based on the arguments presented, this thesis postulates that a consolidated definition of business counterintelligence is more effective and is thus more sustainable.

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