Scientific Papers


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ISSN: 2306-3483 (Online), 2071-8330 (Print)

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Industrial espionage from a human factor perspective

Vol. 16, No 3, 2023


Alexandra Ágnes Mészáros


Óbuda University, 

Budapest, Hungary

ORCID 0000-0003-3652-0203

Industrial espionage from a human factor perspective

Anikó Kelemen-Erdős


Budapest University of Technology and Economics,

Budapest, Hungary 





Abstract. Industrial espionage is a significant threat in a fiercely competitive environment which increases the risk of information security and safety being compromised and leads to concerns about business ethics. The main aim of this paper is to examine industrial espionage from the perspective of the insider human factor, explore the motivations that may lead to industrial espionage, and identify ways of maintaining information security and safety to reduce insider threats. The research involved qualitative in-depth interviews among twenty-one stakeholders from seven European countries. The transcripts were analysed using grounded theory methodology. Results show that main factors that may lead to industrial espionage include intensifying market competition, financial compensation offered in exchange for information, decreasing loyalty among the younger generation, psychological issues of personal grievance and psychological disorders, and poorly developed information-security infrastructure. This study recommends that managers and policymakers plan and implement protection and prevention measures, undertake risk analyses to reduce the potential consequences of insider threats, and establish a critical business information tracking system. Further recommendations include maintaining an appropriate company culture, ensuring employee satisfaction, and fostering information safety education while creating adequate security infrastructure.


Received: February, 2023

1st Revision: May, 2023

Accepted: September, 2023


DOI: 10.14254/2071-8330.2023/16-3/5


JEL ClassificationF16, F23, M54

Keywordsinformation security policy, information security culture, information security and safety, insider threat, grounded theory, European countries