|Start Page Number:||253|
|End Page Number:||264|
|Publication Date:||Mar 2017|
|Authors:||Wetter Olive E, Hofer Franziska, Schmutz Philipp, Jonas Klaus|
|Keywords:||learning, management, personnel & manpower planning, law & law enforcement|
Intellectual property infringements rank among the top economic crimes, even though there are mechanisms in place to prevent their occurrence. One such mechanism are nondisclosure 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 agreement showed no such effect. Furthermore, the effects of the factors ‘Involvement’, ‘Specificity’, ‘Publicity’, and ‘Purpose’ on the identification of trade secrets could be proven 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.