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Competitive intelligence: A practitioner, academic and inter‐disciplinary perspective

Jonathan L. Calof (Associate Professor in International Business, Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)
Sheila Wright (Competitive Intelligence‐Marketing Interface Teaching & Research Initiative (CIMITRI), Department of Marketing, Leicester Business School, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 25 July 2008




The article traces the origins of the competitive intelligence fields and identifies both the practitioner, academic and inter‐disciplinary views on CI practice. An examination of the literature relating to the field is presented, including the identification of the linear relationship which CI has with marketing and strategic planning activities.


Bibliometric assessment of the discipline. Findings reveal the representation of cross disciplinary literature which emphasises the multi‐faceted role which competitive intelligence plays in a modern organization.


The analysis supports the view of competitive intelligence being an activity consisting dominantly of environmental scanning and strategic management literature. New fields of study and activity are rapidly becoming part of the competitive intelligence framework.

Research limitations/implications

The analysis only uses ABI Inform as the primary sources for literature alongside Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) and Competitive Intelligence Foundation (CIF) publications, particularly the Journal of Competitive Intelligence and Management. A more comprehensive bibliometric analysis might reveal additional insights. Simple counts were used for analytical purposes rather than co‐citation analysis.

Practical implications

Attention is drawn to the need for the integration of additional, complementary fields of study and competitive intelligence practice. It is clear that today's competitive intelligence practitioner cannot afford to rely on what they learned 20 years ago in order to ensure the continued competitive advantage of their firm. A keen understanding of all business functions, especially marketing and planning is advocated.


While there have been bibliographies of competitive intelligence literature there have been few attempts to relate this to the three distinct areas of practice. This article is of use to scholars in assisting them to disentangle the various aspect of competitive intelligence and also to managers who wish to gain an appreciation of the potential which competitive intelligence can bring to marking and business success.



Calof, J.L. and Wright, S. (2008), "Competitive intelligence: A practitioner, academic and inter‐disciplinary perspective", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 42 No. 7/8, pp. 717-730.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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