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Sticky Fingers: Managing the Global Risk of Economic Espionage

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Steven Fink

In this fascinating book on economic espionage, Fink (Crisis Management: Planning for the Inevitable) makes the case that the global threat of economic espionage is enormous and that all companies, regardless of size, need to take steps to counter this … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Steven Fink
Publisher: Dearborn Trade
1 review about Sticky Fingers: Managing the Global Risk...

The Global Cookie Jar

  • Mar 28, 2002
Occasionally, an author's concluding remarks shed a great deal of light on what that author's purposes are. That is certainly true of this book. Consider this brief excerpt from the Afterword in which Fink observes: "Acts of terror [e.g. such as those which occurred on September 11th] notwithstanding, economic espionage remains one of the most serious threats to our national security since the Cold War. Therefore, we ought to have seasoned generals leading, and weathered soldiers fighting, the good battles that need to be fought." However, with all due respect to the F.B.I. and to legislation such as the Economic Espionage Act [EEA], "...you still need to be your own best defense against espionage with proper internal education, training, and procedures" and under no circumstances "delegate the crisis management work for your company to the government. It is too important." This brief excerpt helps to explain why this book can be so valuable to decision-makers in global organizations.

Recent research studies have dentified issues of greatest concern to senior-level executives, following September 11th. The top five are mail processing (86%), travel (85%), protection of employees (79%), protection of infrastructure (75%), and risk assessment (71%). Obviously, there is widespread and quite legitimate concern about protecting human beings and physical property. However, as Fink eloquently explains, we must also be concerned about -- and take appropriate measures to protect -- information which is as important to the global economy as oxygen is to the human body.

As events on September 11th clearly indicate, even a country with resources such as those possessed by the United States cannot totally defend itself and its people against terrorists acts. However, because the U.S.A. remains the world leader in research, development, new technology, products, and trade secrets, organizations within the U.S.A. are high-profile targets and "economic espionage spies are still going to come after [them] and that only increases [the] global risk of economic espionage." As previously indicated, Fink's book examines the nature and extent of that potential risk, suggesting all manner of strategies and tactics to anticipate and then prepare for, as well as respond to, economic espionage because it is "a business crisis and should be treated as such."

Fink asserts that "Companies are under attack and at enormous risk every day. from the global threat of economic espionage, but the risk can and should be lowered and managed. Here's how." He organizes his material within two Sections and presents it in 29 interrelated chapters, followed by an Afterword in which he addresses the question, "EEA: Bear Trap or Mouse Trap?" To explain "here's how", he uses the largest economic espionage case ever tried in the United States -- Avery Dennison/Four Pillars -- from his vantage point as the lead crisis management expert for Avery Dennison. Fink guides his reader step-by-step through that seminal case, also also citing along the way relevant situations in other companies such as Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gillette, Kodak, Lucent Technologies, and MasterCard.

Who will derive the greatest benefit from this book? Obviously decision-makers in global organizations. Also service providers to those organizations (e.g. attorneys, accountants, insurance underwriters, management consultants) as well as officials in governmental agencies who are directly or indirectly involved in economic espionage threats as well as acts. I also highly recommend Fink's previous book, Crisis Management, first published in 1986 but more relevant today than ever before. America is at greatest risk because it has the most worth stealing. Those with "sticky fingers" know that and so must those whose task it is to deny them.

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