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Improving the effectiveness of nondisclosure agreements by strengthening concept learning


Wetter, Olive Emil; Hofer, Franziska; Schmutz, Philipp; Jonas, Klaus (2016). Improving the effectiveness of nondisclosure agreements by strengthening concept learning. R & D Management:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

Intellectual property infringements rank among the top economic crimes, even though there are mechanisms in place to prevent their occurrence. One such mechanism are non- disclosure agreements, which, however, have been reported to fail in practice. This article argues that this may be overcome by strengthening employees’ concept learning. In an experiment, we investigated whether extended nondisclosure agreements, which provide the employee with detailed explanations and examples, lead to better recognition of trade secrets as compared to a standard nondisclosure agreement or no agreement at all. It was found that the extended nondisclosure agreement indeed increased participants’ ability to judge what falls under the trade secret law, whereas the standard nondisclosure agree- ment showed no such effect. Furthermore, the effects of the factors ‘Involvement’, ‘Specificity’, ‘Publicity’, and ‘Purpose’ on the identification of trade secrets could be pro- ven experimentally. Employees’ judgments of whether an information represents a trade secret seem to rely on general cognitive processes. From this follows that concept learning could be integrated into systematic approaches for protecting intellectual property.

Abstract

Intellectual property infringements rank among the top economic crimes, even though there are mechanisms in place to prevent their occurrence. One such mechanism are non- disclosure agreements, which, however, have been reported to fail in practice. This article argues that this may be overcome by strengthening employees’ concept learning. In an experiment, we investigated whether extended nondisclosure agreements, which provide the employee with detailed explanations and examples, lead to better recognition of trade secrets as compared to a standard nondisclosure agreement or no agreement at all. It was found that the extended nondisclosure agreement indeed increased participants’ ability to judge what falls under the trade secret law, whereas the standard nondisclosure agree- ment showed no such effect. Furthermore, the effects of the factors ‘Involvement’, ‘Specificity’, ‘Publicity’, and ‘Purpose’ on the identification of trade secrets could be pro- ven experimentally. Employees’ judgments of whether an information represents a trade secret seem to rely on general cognitive processes. From this follows that concept learning could be integrated into systematic approaches for protecting intellectual property.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:17 Feb 2016 09:00
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 20:08
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0033-6807
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/radm.12203

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