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We are proud to announce that BMI Alumni Laurent Potet, a graduate of BMI EMBA Class IV (2004) and ICT expert at the European Union, has successfully defended his Executive Doctorate in Business Administration thesis on “Strategic intelligence, secrecy and coopetition” at Paris Dauphine University this October.
Paris Dauphine University is a member of Université PSL which ranks 53 in QS World University Ranking. The jury was chaired by Stéphanie Dameron, professor of strategy at Paris Dauphine University, where she runs the Chair of Strategic and Competitive Intelligence.
"How to handle business secrets when forced to work with a competitor? ".
France, as well as Europe, have given increasing importance to the management of business secrets for more than 30 years. Recent initiatives to legislate on the subject have demonstrated strong interest for governments and businesses. Their repeated failures have also exposed the limits of our knowledge on this hot topic.
Secret is a fundamental part of the life (and sometimes the death) of a company, from its creation to its most complex inter-organizational relationships. Despite this obvious statement, organizational secrecy has been largely ignored – when not denigrated – in management studies.
This thesis exposes, here, the complexity of the management of organizational secrets in a multi-level and dynamic setup of coopetition, an ideal framework to study the dynamics of cooperation and competition (to share or not a secret with the allies of today and enemies of tomorrow?).
Based on a study of an exploratory case with 8 embedded sub-cases, this research highlights the management of secrecy to cope with several coopetitions over time and different organizational levels.
This qualitative study shows the existence of informational tensions called secretive tensions, tensions centered on the organizational secret. These coopetitive tensions are in action during the formalization of a latent / in-future coopetition, in the decisions of sharing or not of organizational secrets within a coopetition or to a third party, in the decision to continue or not an existing relationship. Going against the literature, which is often calling for more transparency, this thesis defends the idea that the organizational secrets can be beneficial, are necessary and are fundamental to the management of inter-organizational relations such as coopetitions.
Based on the mindset of French CI, this thesis proposes a matrix to help managers and leaders to know when to protect, share, exploit or acquire a business secret when they are in a hyper-coopetitive environment.