Think Learn & Perform (TLP): GS Mains Synopsis [Day 32]

  • October 3, 2015
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TLP: GS Mains Synopsis [Day 32]


Q.1) Are competitive intelligence and corporate espionage related to each other? Write a note on the ethical values surrounding corporate espionage.


The Top Answer for this question is written by – Heidi

Ans) Corporate Espionage is often referred to as the ‘dark sister’ of competitive intelligence. The former is an unethical and illegal practice of investigating the competitor, and the later is collecting information following a severe code of ethics.

They differ from each other on legal and ethical terms, though both share the same goal. The philosophy of ‘All’s Fair in Love and War’ leads to unethical practices of espionage including bribery, blackmail and technological surveillance in the corporate war for market and customers.

Corporate Espionage and Ethical Values

The ‘tactics’ used, ‘nature’ of information collected and the ‘purpose’ for which the information is used are the determinants of the breach of ethics.

– Theft or hacking of intellectual property and invasion or destruction of properties are dishonest things to do. It is against the values of HONESTY and INTEGRITY, in terms of ‘DE ONTOLOGICAL’ precept of ‘GOLDEN RULE’ ( do unto others as you would have them do unto you) and Kant’s ‘CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE’.

– Spying on confidential information like formula, recipes, processing techniques, designs (requiring huge investment in R&D) is against ‘FAIRNESS’ and ‘JUSTICE’.

– Espionage on trade secrets and competitive information may lead to anti competitive behavior, price rise and more importantly threat to national security when it comes to military hardware and software industry, breaching ‘PUBLIC INTEREST’

Corporate Espionage should be curbed effectively by a ‘Code of Ethics’ and legal measures.


Q.2) What factors impinge on the impartial functioning and moral fibre of a public official? What core values can be the bulwark against corrupting influence?


The Top Answer for this question is written by – Nishant

Ans) Impartiality and Probity are fundamentals of a public office. Unfortunately they are impinged by various factors discussed below:

Personal Factors

– Low salaries complemented with personal greed.

– Decline of individual ethics in an increasingly utilitarian world.

– No sense of commitment to public service.

Institutional Factors

– Little or no mechanism for performance monitoring vis-à-vis the private sector.

– ‘’String pulling’’ for career growth prospects.

– Lack of accountability and transparency in public works.

– Tardy implementation of corruption laws and slow justice delivery.

Public Factors

– Low levels of awareness in a largely semi-literate country like India.

– Lack of unity in public – the concept of “getting one’s job done by any means”.

– Dysfunctional public grievance redressal system such as Lokpal.

Corruption breeds from failure of ethics. The core values that can act as a bulwark in this regard are:

  1. Integrity – to resist falling prey to corruption in ‘first instance’.
  2. Accountability – to be answerable to the concerns of people served.
  3. Courage – for the people to stand up against the practice of corruption.
  4. Justice – to bring the guilty to book and setting an example by stringent punishment.

Above all, we need public participation at each step of service delivery. The realization that public service is a right and not charity itself would go a long way in moderating corruption.


Q.3) Case Study


Anjali was at her grandparents place when her grandfather expired. While working in the kitchen  that day, her uncle came and hugged her, touching her at inappropriate places on the pretext of comforting her. Fortunately, the housemaid entered at the correct time and he left. Anjali was too shocked to even react. That day, she fell severely ill. She was too traumatized to even share it with her parents. Her parents took her to the doctor and the doctor gave her the confidence to let her parents know, if anything is disturbing her.


1) What is holding Anjali back in sharing this incident with her parents? Elaborate.


The Top Answer for this question is written by – Indushree

Ans) Sexual abuse, rape, molestation are such shameful incidents in our society that it tries to suppress information about them. This puts the victim in a vulnerable position while protecting the offender as seen in this case. Anjali hesitates to talk to even her parents about this matter probably because of following reasons:

  1. The patriarchy in society makes the victims of sexual abuse have a guilt and believe that the fault was on their side. The shame reinforces the need for secrecy.
  2. Family upbringing usually teaches children to respect elders and to accept adult demands without protest.
  3. The horror and disbelief may have led to fear of repeated abuse if the matter is publicised.
  4. The discomfort among family members to discuss sexual matters is one of the biggest hurdles.
  5. Absence of defence and valid evidences to prove the case when the adult member denies allegations.
  6. The death of her grandfather may have affected the entire family and not have given the necessary privacy and time with her parents.

2) What is trust? Examine if it was a case of miscarriage of trust or if the case can qualify for ‘benefit of doubt’?


The Top Answer for this question is written by – Heidi

Ans) Trust is the belief that someone or something is completely reliable and will never cheat us.

If Anjali feels inappropriateness in her uncle’s action, that is liable to be a breach of trust. And the fact that he left when the housemaid entered reveals the bad intention of her uncle. The incident made her severely ill is also showing the kind of shock her uncle gave her. Hence it cannot qualify ‘benefit of doubt’. This is a case of miscarriage of trust.

This case is just another reflection of increasing sexual abuse in our society. The reasons which are holding Anjali back from sharing it leave many such victims traumatized.


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