In October 1984, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the McDonnell Douglas Corporation in St. Louis, Missouri, directed that each of the company's major components establish a competitive intelligence organization to improve its understanding of the competition. One premise behind this directive was that an assessment of the competition in the marketplace was essential, and that the company's current informal methods of competitive‐intelligence gathering were inadequate. Another premise was that only ethical and legal data‐gathering techniques were to be used, especially since there was so much information available from a wide variety of public sources. The directive specified that the overall process must be action oriented with a focus on analysis, assessment, and communication.
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