We're Leaking, and Everything's Fine: How and Why Companies Deliberately Leak Secrets

Posted: 26 Oct 2015 Last revised: 30 Oct 2015

See all articles by David R. Hannah

David R. Hannah

Simon Fraser University - Management and Organizational Studies Area

Ian P. McCarthy

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Beedie School of Business

Jan Kietzmann

Simon Fraser University - Segal Graduate School of Business

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 25, 2015

Abstract

Although the protection of secrets is often vital to the survival of organizations, at other times organizations can benefit by deliberately leaking secrets to outsiders. We explore how and why this is the case. We identify two dimensions of leaks: (1) whether the information in the leak is factual or concocted and (2) whether leaks are conducted overtly or covertly. Using these two dimensions, we identify four types of leaks: informing, dissembling, misdirecting, and provoking. We also provide a framework to help managers decide whether or not they should leak secrets.

Keywords: secrecy, trade secrets, secrets, leaking, knowledge management, strategy, innovation, intellectual property

JEL Classification: 034, M00

Suggested Citation

Hannah, David R. and McCarthy, Ian P. and Kietzmann, Jan, We're Leaking, and Everything's Fine: How and Why Companies Deliberately Leak Secrets (October 25, 2015). Business Horizons, Vol. 58, No. 6, 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2679605

David R. Hannah

Simon Fraser University - Management and Organizational Studies Area ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Colombia V5A 1S6
Canada

Ian P. McCarthy (Contact Author)

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Beedie School of Business ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

Jan Kietzmann

Simon Fraser University - Segal Graduate School of Business ( email )

Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://beedie.sfu.ca/profiles/JanKietzmann

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