INTRODUCTION : Competitive intelligence failures have adverse effects in the marketplace. They are caused by individual and organisational factors, seldom explicitly attributed to information behaviour. This paper examines reasons for competitive intelligence failures found in a small scale exploratory study using an information behaviour lens.
METHOD : The study was conducted in 2017 in [country] using qualitative and limited descriptive quantitative data. The fifteen participants included competitive intelligence professionals, educators and trainers, who originated from [country] and [another country]. Convenience and snowball sampling were used. In-depth semi-structured individual interviews were conducted (Skype, telephonic, face-to-face and face-time). A competitive intelligence process cycle and eclectic information behaviour model guided data collection.
FINDINGS : Factors that are disaggregated in the competitive intelligence process (e.g. lack of conceptual understanding) and competitive intelligence activities (e.g. articulation and expression of intelligence needs) attributed to competitive intelligence failures. Methods that can be followed to reduce the risk of competitive intelligence failures (noted in interviews) can be ascribed in terms of causes of failures.
CONCLUSION : Library and information science, information behaviour as sub-discipline, principles of question negotiation, reference interviewing, determination of information needs and advanced knowledge of information seeking can support competitive intelligence professionals in avoiding failure.