Social science and law are not strangers. In analyzing legal issues, scholars have often utilized theoretical or methodological approaches from the social sciences. While economics appears to be the prevalent branch of social science in legal analysis, sociology, with its focus on group (as opposed to individual) behavior, can be a suitable approach where, for instance, the application and interpretation of the law is based largely on contextual factors and on behavior. Trade secret law is one of these areas. Public policy arguments and value judgments loom large in these cases. Trade secret law regulates commercial ethics and morality, and the very doctrine of misappropriation is based on breach of good faith or breach of confidence. Sociological analysis can therefore offer valuable insights into trade secret misappropriation and improve our understanding of social factors involved in the complex interplay between legal doctrine and compliance.
Elizabeth A. Rowe, A Sociological Approach to Misappropriation, 58 U. Kan. L. Rev. 1 (2009), available at http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/facultypub/102