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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Securing Intellectual Property in IS Layoffs

Securing Intellectual Property in IS Layoffs
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Author(s): Norman Pendegraft (University of Idaho, USA)and Jerry Wegman (University of Idaho, USA)
Copyright: 2002
Pages: 2
Source title: Issues & Trends of Information Technology Management in Contemporary Organizations
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-930708-39-6.ch151
ISBN13: 9781930708396
EISBN13: 9781466641358


The most important asset of many companies is their intellectual property (IP). Customer lists, computer code, and information about new products are all IP. According to Nichols (2000) preventing the disclosure to competitors of IP is a major IS security problem. They assert that the major source of such disclosures is insiders such as disgruntled employees or former employees. Poorly handled layoffs may provide the incentive and the opportunity for employees to disclose IP to competitors at great cost to the firm. Until recently the major HR problem facing IS managers was the shortage of qualified workers (Murray 2000). Recent events have changed this. According to Rosencrance (2001) during the first 9 months of 2001 over 130,000 jobs were cut at computer based companies. Layoffs have received considerable attention in the trade press (Duffy 2001, Georgia 2001). Despite this little has been written to guide managers faced with IS layoffs. For example, Brown (2000) devotes a chapter to hiring and retaining IS workers but does not mention layoffs. This paper suggests legal and managerial practices which a company may use to protect its IP. The first section deals with legal strategies for protecting IP. The second addresses IS management strategies. The third considers the management of the layoff per se. The final section presents the first installment of a field study based an a large layoff of IS workers.

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