Never steal others work. Ever. Period.
Show respect, credit it, attribute it and build on top of it if you want to, but never pass it off as your own if it isn’t.
I’m not talking lazy research where you fail to properly credit published work although this is bad enough, I am talking about idea theft. If you are going to propose someone else’s idea, then credit it. Simple as that. It doesn’t matter if it is written down, formally recorded and logged or legally protected. If it belongs to someone else, then give them the credit for this.
Unfortunately, in business the idea thieves are rampant, so beware. Often the worst culprits are senior managers and executives. They should know better, but too often they think that the intellectual ideas of those who work for them are theirs to plunder.
Idea theft is still theft. When you do this you demonstrate that you have the same integrity as a thief stealing from a corner shop. You didn’t need to take it – but you did – and you deserve the loss of respect and dignity for doing so.
There is no difference.
Crediting those who created the idea not only helps those people get the respect they deserve, it means that they are more likely to work with you and want to collaborate on joint initiatives, giving you both increased opportunities. For a manager there is no greater measure of success than being able to lead a team of very smart people who respect you. If you steal their ideas this is impossible.
Isaac Newton is widely credited with the quote that best sums this up, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” He understood that the work he did was adding to a body of existing knowledge.
The academic world quite rightly requires accurate and diligent referencing, reflecting the reality that most ideas are building on the work of others. The corporate world is far less demanding, but never underestimate the risks and dangers of failing to attribute intellectual property.
You may not think I remember that idea that I emailed to you a few months ago that you have now blatantly taken the credit for. Not only do I remember, but the server logs don’t lie.
It is hard to defend against a timestamped email.
This article is copyright Gary Burt … reference it, build on it, but please credit me. The WordPress logs don’t lie.