The influence of destructive forces on corporate safety

Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №1 - 2010

Author: Iskanderova Fatima, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan

The emergence of new economic and social structures and the appearance of a large number of non-governmental organizations of different types and forms of property resulted in the development of a new form of activity which is corporate safety assurance. Nevertheless, the research devoted to studying this problem is quite limited.

What is safety? There have been considerable and lengthy debates about the issue, which are likely to continue for some period of time. Different sources devoted to this problem see it in different ways. Some of them define safety as a system of quality which determines its self-preservation ability. Other sources see it as a system of guarantees that provide sustainable development and protection from internal and external threats.

Judging from the definitions mentioned above safety is aimed at safeguarding the system and providing for its regular functioning. And by saying system here we may mean a state, any of its governing agencies, a commercial structure or an individual.

One of the recent forms of activity that has appeared as a result of market relations development is corporate safety assurance. In accordance with current views corporate safety consists of the following basic components:

1) Safeguarding organization facilities and objects of material value;

2) Safeguarding personnel;

3) Safeguarding information flows;

4) Safeguarding external contacts and activities.

G. Grachev defines corporate safety as safeguarding the organization (social group or social layer) from threats of psychological character, conditioned by different factors that influence people’s psyche.

A. Draga defines corporate safety as protection of essential interests of the company from unfair competition, illegal activity of criminal organizations and individuals, ability to withstand internal and external threats and maintain sustainability in functioning and development of the organization in compliance with its charter.

According to A.Sukhov, the definition corporate safety is providing safety through eliminating threats coming from outside of the organization.

Thus, corporate safety is safeguarding the company and its personnel from external and internal threats during the whole period of its functioning.

Currently both governmental and commercial organization management pay significant attention to corporate safety since both of them pursue the same goal – safeguard the company from potential threats, mostly external. Therefore the most acute problem they face today is providing for an optimal level of corporate safety. Hence there arises the necessity of introduction of a safety department into the organizational system, whose functions are connected with searching for up-to-date methods and techniques of providing safety and safety monitoring. These functions of safety department personnel are reflected in the concept of corporate safety.

A corporate safety concept is viewed as the visioning of an integral and systematic understanding that provides methods for eliminating external threats that may effect the company from the outside since its activity is connected with more general political, economic and social processes, and also as determining ways of eliminating threats that come from within the company caused by certain specific internal processes.

Safety concept development and implementation consist in providing a set of special tools that help to develop deliverables like a document describing a concept or action plan aimed at guaranteeing organization external and internal safety taking into consideration technical, physical, financial, legal, informational, psychological and special provisions.

Transition to new political and economic development levels determined new types of organization activity such as industrial espionage and unfair competition especially in commercial structures, where such kinds of activity do not only diminish, but tend to grow. Under such conditions to protect the interests of the company it should develop a special system of safety assurance.

The main purpose of safety system is protecting company commercial interests from being damaged through financial or material theft, material values and facilities destruction, information disclosure, leak, misrepresentation or loss, derangements in company management system, in facility operation, including information technology malfunctioning, and personnel detriment.

Company safety system is an organized totality of special bodies, means and activities, providing secure operation of the company in general, which means it provides safeguarding of key company interests from internal and external threats, i.e. from a combination of factors and conditions that threaten company’s commercial interests.

Security system objectives:

1) opportune detection and elimination of threats to personnel and resources, elimination of causes and conditions resulting in financial, material or moral damage to commercial enterprise interests and malfunctioning in its operation and breaches in its development;

2) Determination of the security level of certain documents (professional secrecy documents, commercial classified information, and other types of confidential information liable to protection from illegitimate use), determination of threat level of other resources;

3) Development of a mechanism of timely response to different kinds of threats and emergence of negative tendencies in a company operation;

4) Effective suppression of encroachment on the resources and threats to personnel in accordance with legal, organizational and technical regulations and using different means of security assurance;

5) Creation of conditions for maximum possible compensation and localization of detriments made by illegal acts of individuals, legal entities and criminal structures.

An important role in solving problems connected with corporate safety assurance is played by a human factor. This is explained by the fact that human factor is characteristic of any sphere of activity, whether it is providing economic, information or other type security in any type of social groups or organizations. The system of corporate safety is aimed at providing security not only to company facilities and its financial and legal documents and information, but also to its immediate participant – an individual and his labor activity. Thus it is quite natural for a person to choose this or that organization based on the level of security the organization can provide.

There is no doubt that security is the fundamental human need, which is thoroughly studied in multiple psychological theories. In particular, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs shows that higher human needs like self realization, recognition and belongingness needs are realized only after basic physiological and safety needs are satisfied.

Safety need is one of the most important needs for a person, and satisfying this need is the necessary condition for normal existence and development of the person, and it is satisfied through certain organization forms, stable structures of social interaction, cooperative activities, which transform into the system of interrelated personal and group interests and methods to achieve them.

Like Maslow’s hierarchy, C. Alderfer’s existence – relatedness- growth theory originates from the assumption that physiological needs, safety need in particular, are fundamental in the process of developing and maintaining of psychological safety of a man.

These types of needs as a rule become apparent and are satisfied through paying sufficient salary which provides everything necessary for life and providing secure labor conditions.

Currently much attention is paid to the problem of systemic (complex) safety, though there is still some kind of bias towards technical means of security providing, and there is such bias even in this systemic approach. This article considers safety as a rather capacious system which provides all aspects of vital activities and development of any structure. And along with economic and informational security within a system of corporate safety we distinguish psychological security of the personnel.

Table 1.1 contains detailed classification of threats to corporate safety

Table 1.1 Classification of threats to safety.

Committing crimes parties

Originating from a favorable situations, including secure situations

Originating from a desire to get income from selling stolen goods

Committed to order

Types of threats to security




-   Theft;

-   Robbery, assault;

-   Property destruction;

-   Acts of terror;

-   Emergency situations.

-   Information interception;

-   Information misrepresentation;

-   Information loss;

-   False information introduction.

-   Responsibility evasion;

-   Fraudulent operations;

-   Human intelligence;

-   Psychological influence.

Threat to security may also come from social acts. Threat to the company operations may come from such techniques as lie, deception, half-truth, information leak, gossip, incomplete are partially twisted information, false report, biased culturological context of information (including true and neutral in their context), misinformation, speculation, provocative and manipulative information, attempts of “reflexive manipulation” (V. Lefevour’s term) of randomly (or purposefully) chosen groups of people, inadequately chosen information source, phoney authorities and so on.

Today it is very popular to get necessary information through using manipulative techniques. The number of techniques influencing the sub consciousness and especially the unconscious is constantly growing.

Thus, speaking about a corporate safety we should remember that corporate safety currently doesn’t have a monosemantic meaning and is understood as the following:

а) Generally corporate safety stands for providing safety to individuals and legal entities in the sphere of commercial activity, which doesn’t reflect the specific of the notion to the full and can be brought to correlation with the safety of the corporation. In this meaning the notion of corporate safety is used as a synonym of the safety of the corporation, understood as a common name for different types of unions characterized by internal organization, which consolidates its members into all-in-one-piece, and which is the entity of rights and obligations, a legal entity.

б) At the same time the notion of corporate safety as opposed to the safety of the corporation is to a greater degree associated with the phenomenon of corporate unity as a social and psychological phenomenon. Taking this in account, protecting company safety from threats of psychological character, conditioned by influence of different factors on people’s psyche.

According to the contemporary views corporate safety is formed from the following components:

- Economic safety;

- Information safety;

- Social safety;

- Protection of material values, objects and individuals.

Let us consider the components of corporate safety in detail.

1. Economic intelligence – organization of acquisition of information for the company management to make more rational decisions in issues of financial and operational activity, corresponding to emerging circumstances, strategic goals and tactical objectives, which allow avoiding failures in operation.

Collection, analysis and processing of information is one of the most important links of not only security system, but is also a core of marketing, because based on the information the company develops its policy.

2. Economic counter-intelligence and internal security:

- resistance to internal corruption, attempts to damage the company and its personnel, and here we speak not only of theft but also of incompetence;

- investigation of facts of internal forgery, theft and other damage to company;

- resistance to criminal threats;

- detecting sources providing information to organized crime and industrial espionage among company employees;

- checkup of people being hired by the company and periodical preventive checkup of company personnel loyalty;

- providing physical security to company management and personnel (strongarm and operational);

- preventing negative processes among company personnel, which may lead to emergency situations;

- safeguarding movable and immovable property of the company.

3. Information analytical efforts.

This dimension provides gathering, research based generalization and analysis of information in different directions of company safety accompanied by determination of both positive and negative trends in the process of providing company security and, based on it, generating proposals either for further development of those trends or their neutralization. In regions that may be done by one or two people, who constantly communicate with the center, gather information and evaluate the situation in the field.

4. Information security (protecting information which is considered commercial classified information or of key importance in providing regular operation of information collections):

- organizational security measures in working with confidential information in all its form (hard and soft copies and other);

- counteraction to private technical intelligence;

- a complete range of measures to provide security to local computers and internal computer worknets, providing safe Internet access;

- providing safe communication channels.

5. Interaction with local authorities and law enforcement agencies.

This interaction is based on the following principle: main security departments – executive bodies and central apparat of the Ministry of Internal Affairs; field security departments – territorial or regional departments.

6. Personnel training in adopted programs in accordance with organizational structure and performed official duties, major directions in providing company corporate safety.

7. Propagandistic provision of company policy (“active measures”).

Entities of company corporate safety process provision are the following:

- Company leaders;

- Security manager;

- Personnel of the firm, company or organization;

- Personnel service staff;

- Security department personnel.

Protected objects include:

- economics;

- material resources;

- information flows;

- leaders;

- personnel;

- security department personnel.

Security of any company in the final run is the function of its adaptive capabilities and peculiarities of the environment in which it operates. In its turn both the environment and the company itself a priori contain certain threats, i.e. certain elements which, if activated, can damage irreparably company’s most important components.

Any company can be treated as a separate case of an open system. In fact, to produce a product or a service an organization should interact with environment and other players on the market. In external environment there are two groups of factors: positive, which make contribution to company development, and negative, which hinder its development. The latter are often referred to as threat factors since they present certain danger to a company.

The specific thing about threat factors is that they, being objective, do not give in to being managed by security services. Thus, business structures need to develop an effective system of measures to counteract threat factors in case of their activation.

The indicator of the corporate safety effectiveness is its ability to resist two groups of destructive factors (processes) – internal and external.

This is the outline of how it looks:

Figure 1.2 Subsystems of corporate safety resisting threat factors

This subdivision of corporate safety into two subsystems is determined by the fact that a certain object (human factor) is simultaneously influenced by two types of destructive forces: external and internal.

The category of external forces in our opinion includes in the first place:

- competitors;

- criminal structures;

- government institutions corrupted element;

- natural and anthropogenic disasters.

These are the most active factors of threats according to the results of the survey of over 35 companies. Most of businessmen place their competitors above all other threat factors. It needs to be mentioned that competition is a natural and even necessary process of market relations. But, depending on the methods used, competitive activity can be divided white, grey and black.

“White” competition is a fair competition; it is realized within the current legal framework.

“Grey” competition is rivalry, the first stage of unfair competition; it is realized through using techniques and methods, aimed at discrediting the competitor, good and services produced and provided by the competitor.

“Black” competition is contention; it is aimed at eradication of the competitor and is realized through techniques and methods which are in conflict with the legal framework.

In its turn, unfair competition gives rise to two new threat factors:

- Industrial espionage;

- Raid (unfriendly take-over activities).

These factors in themselves are passive and are activated at the moment of receiving an order for such services. Industrial espionage is, as a rule, a sphere of specialization of private detective agencies. Raid is the sphere of activity of special business firms and companies.

Significant negative influence on the development of small and medium sized businesses is made by corrupted staff of multiple auditing and supervising bodies, which are ready to become blind when they come across certain faults and violations for certain compensation. In cases of unhealthy competition representatives of this threat factor can become accomplices of one of the parties using administrative resources.

What concerns criminal structures, business people of different levels consider this factor being of less significance and quite predictable.

Statistic figures of the recent years indicate that businessmen pay insufficient attention to such threat factor as anthropogenic disasters.

It is accepted that issues of providing economic security is the prerogative of security departments, but besides them there are other people and services involved into this process:

- Тop management;

- Internal audit service;

- Information analysis service;

- Personnel service;

- Legal service.

Similar situation is observed in respect to information and social security. This fact determines the necessity to revise approaches to developing both security system itself and principles of its management.

Each of these factors also contains a human factor. Protection from them requires development of specific influence methods including psychological ones. However, the factual level and degree of threats is not always adequately treated by the company leader and its security department due to certain subjective reasons.

Besides external threat factors there are also internal threat factors that make a destructive influence on the level of corporate safety. They are of objective nature and exist in the environment of any company. When activated they have a complex structure and require the same amount of attention. Internal threat factors have a marked subject character. Behind each of them there is a certain individual or a group of people, while one and the same person can represent two or more threat factors.

We suggest treating the following as internal threat factors:

- Tension which develops among team members due to wrong relationship within the vertical and horizontal structure, and due to dissatisfaction of people with the results of their work and the way management evaluates them;

- Unfair competition among certain employees and departments;

- Role conflicts;

- Insufficient competence of managers of different levels;

- Low professional and personal trustworthiness of the personnel.

Thus, those who are to ensure corporate safety can become the source of the threat.

Internal threat subjects require a complex evaluation. Depending on a situation they can simultaneously function as a threat source and a protection objects. The real threat to corporate safety of a business firm, company or organization can be a result of unqualified activity of certain subjects of the corporate safety provision process.

Among the subjects of external threats the highest degree of danger comes from unfriendly activity of competitors and criminal structures.

Certain subsystems of corporate safety should provide effective resistance to those components of an overall threat which they are aimed to counteract to. Mutual activity of these subsystems should result in integral corporate safety as a type of systemic feature. Integral effect is achieved through assistance provided by separate subsystems in solving problems of each other. In fact, it is impossible to provide economic security ignoring its information and social components. A great significance in providing social security is given to economy and information protection.

Let us attract your attention to two relevant facts.

Each subsystem has a backward linkage, which allows to adjust its effectiveness due to use of internal resources in cases when a factual safety level is lower that the targeted level.

In its turn each subsystem is a mini-system consisting of a large number of elements.

What concerns partners and governmental structures they can be referred to as factors of latent or indirect threat.

External threat factors are treated in most cases quite adequately while internal threats are not always treated appropriately though they have no less but, in some cases, a greater degree of destructive influence.

Separate subsystems, performing independent functions, coexist interpenetrating each other.

Today providing complex security is not just the experience of operational activity but also knowledge of economy, audit, contemporary information technologies and a lot more. This is the reason why these structures tend to hire young perspective civilians, especially those having a degree in economics or in technical education.

Another important thing which is worth mentioning: the whole functioning of corporate safety system from top to bottom is built on trust to each other. If the company management does not rely on its security system, then its information is worthless and all its multilateral activity has no sense.

If a security system worker does not have trust of the immediate superior he is not supposed to work in this system. Every member of a security department should have an absolute confidence that he is trusted, should value this trust and should never abuse it. However trust does not exclude but involves control over all elements of security system, and in manpower policy it involves development of criteria of assessing each employee. These criteria are to stimulate employee performance, favored his performance assessment, promotion and keep from abusing his authority.

Thus, developing a system of corporate safety is developing company’s protection from negative influence of external and internal factors, destabilizing factors, which provides sustainable realization of company’s commercial interests and chartered goals.


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Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №1 - 2010

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