Sun Tzu on Gathering Competitive Information

A reader writes:
The issue I am having is the conflict between the Sun Tzu principles about corporate espionage, and the cultural principle of integrity in my company.
This conflict is an illusion. Remember, Sun Tzu's strategy is not about destroying competitors. We call it “winning without conflict” because is advances your own position by avoiding opposition whenever possible. Having more information about your competitors allows you to do this more easily. The issue isn’t simply finding out your opponents secrets, it is getting a well-rounded perspective on the complete strategic situation that includes your own organization, your opponents, your customers, and so on. We cannot perceive how others see us or see others clearly because of our position. Being inside an organization is like being inside a bottle. We can’t read the label from the inside. Its curved glass sides distort our perception of everything around us. The chapter “Spies” is better read as an essay about developing a broad network for a broader perspective. That network extends into our competitors’ organizations to obtain their perspective, and it also extends in every other direction as well.