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Many companies have information which is competitively sensitive

For a variety of reasons this can be 'offensive' to work colleagues. For example the material may be information about a competitors’ secret processes. Or it may be an internal company secret on an external site. The permutations are much wider than most would guess.

The extent to which such information is legitimately offensive to the corporate entity, can be open to interpretation. The response of companies and countries (France and Germany are both trying) is to lock out information and knowledge. It will fail because the information is out there and available one way or another. The issues for companies and countries is in the broader ethical arguments and practices.

This does not absolve the company.

Falling in the realm of corporate affairs, the company must have a reputation (and ethics) policy and the means to identify and manage its infringement. Porosity, now a feature of corporate life, will dictate the need to implement such actions.

The one thing a company cannot do is lock out the Internet. At best it can lock out a few hundred sites. Of many millions, this is not much good. ISP’s and Crawlers, also try to lock out some sites for (primarily) commercial, moral or ethical reasons.
However, the interests of an ISP may, and often will be, at odds with the corporate philosophy.

There are precedents for ethical use and by using the approaches already developed in other spheres of interest, the means by which corporations can develop their own response is at hand. An example used in education is published by Jay P. Sivin and
Ellen R. Bialo in the USA25. Some of the ethical issues raised include: A student uses a search engine and the World Wide Web to cut-and-paste together a pastiche of other people's words to create a research paper she submits under her own name. Is this
research, plagiarism or straight cheating?. A schoolteacher starts a computer bulletin board system and a student posts a credit card number, thinking of his actions as a prank. The legal system regards the school as a publisher and holds it liable. Issues of
ethical actions are important to reputation when we are involved in on-line communications and this stretches beyond the realm of internal virtual communities.

Internal staff communities can be good, helpful and healthy. The creative manager, will develop strategies to encourage such use and to discourage the worse side of human nature.Communities can be great fun and a boon to the virtual presence of the company.

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Article Series

This article is part 16 of a 24 part series. Other articles in this series are shown below:
  1. The Internet Influence
  2. Reputation Management
  3. The Internet Society
  4. How People Use The Internet
  5. The Opinion Formers
  6. A Stakerholder Society
  7. Its Fast
  8. Technology For The People
  9. A Reputation For Responding
  10. Newsgroups, Chat and Cybercast
  11. The Nature of Newsgroups
  12. Chat Overtaking Newsgroups
  13. Cybercasting
  14. The Internet Communities
  15. Neighbourghood Communities
  16. Company Communities
  17. Community Currency
  18. The Effect Of Virutal Communities On The Bottom Line
  19. Political Communities
  20. Cyber Marketers
  21. Global Branding
  22. Accessibility
  23. Information and Content
  24. Cyberbrand Outreach Accessibility
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