Conflict of Interest

Reviewed by Anjaneyulu | Updated on Sep 28, 2020

Introduction

Conflict of interest is a case where an entity has conflicting interests due to their duties towards more than one person or organisation. An individual with a conflict of interest can not do justice to both parties—real or potential competing interests.

Conflict of interest includes a person with two relationships having to compete for loyalty. The person may have, for example, loyalty to an employer and also loyalty to a family company. In order to grow these businesses, the individual must participate in his best interest.

Understanding

For several different cases a conflict of interest can occur, including personal allegiance, allegiance to a private employer, a government employer, or a professional relationship. The best way to understand the idea of conflict of interest is to use some examples:

  • A public official whose personal interests clash with the organisation's desired loyalty.

  • A person who has an authority role in a specific company and also has conflicting interests in another company.

  • When an attorney is seeking to represent both sides of a case.

Conflict of Interest at Workplace

Conflict of interests can cause an employee to act against interests of his or her employer or co-workers. In workplaces, employees want to avoid any behaviour that could potentially signal a conflict of interest. They are against the employee reputation, integrity, and trustworthiness in the eyes of the management.

It is hard to define conflicts of interest without clear examples. They are as complex as the work environments in which they arise and involve workers, acts and circumstances where personal considerations take priority over what is in the employer's best interests.

Disclosure

Politicians and high-ranking officials of government are usually required to disclose annual financial information assets such as stock, debts, and corporate positions held. All practitioners are forced to report any real or possible conflicts of interest either by regulations relating to their professional organisation or by legislation. In a few instances, the failure to provide full disclosure will lead to a crime.

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