conflict of interest

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Conflict of Interest

A term used to describe the situation in which a public official or fiduciary who, contrary to the obligation and absolute duty to act for the benefit of the public or a designated individual, exploits the relationship for personal benefit, typically pecuniary.

In certain relationships, individuals or the general public place their trust and confidence in someone to act in their best interests. When an individual has the responsibility to represent another person—whether as administrator, attorney, executor, government official, or trustee—a clash between professional obligations and personal interests arises if the individual tries to perform that duty while at the same time trying to achieve personal gain. The appearance of a conflict of interest is present if there is a potential for the personal interests of an individual to clash with fiduciary duties, such as when a client has his or her attorney commence an action against a company in which the attorney is the majority stockholder.

Incompatibility of professional duties and personal interests has led Congress and many state legislatures to enact statutes defining conduct that constitutes a conflict of interest and specifying the sanctions for violations. A member of a profession who has been involved in a conflict of interest might be subject to disciplinary proceedings before the body that granted permission to practice that profession.

Cross-references

Attorney Misconduct; Ethics, Legal.

conflict of interest

n. a situation in which a person has a duty to more than one person or organization, but cannot do justice to the actual or potentially adverse interests of both parties. This includes when an individual's personal interests or concerns are inconsistent with the best for a customer, or when a public official's personal interests are contrary to his/her loyalty to public business. An attorney, an accountant, a business adviser or realtor cannot represent two parties in a dispute and must avoid even the appearance of conflict. He/she may not join with a client in business without making full disclosure of his/her potential conflicts, he/she must avoid commingling funds with the client, and never, never take a position adverse to the customer.

conflict of interest

noun conflict, divergent interrsts between clients, ethical breach, prohibiting acceptance or retention of a case, variance of interest between clients
Associated concepts: code of professional responsibility
See also: disagreement
References in periodicals archive ?
For the uninitiated, a conflict of interest is a situation in which an individual or an organisation has competing interests or loyalties--and, in the case of optics, the potential for conflicts of interest is high.
Conflicts of interest cannot be eliminated altogether but it can be managed so that it has the smallest possible effects on journal content and credibility.
New trustees should disclose any conflicts of interest on appointment.
In order to avoid conflicts of interest, nursing home board directors, officers, and key management personnel should abide by the following guidelines:
Ignoring organizational conflicts of interest can result in disqualification from future work.
Our coding frame allowed us to compile information regarding the date and location of publication, authorship, the portrayed likelihood of benefits and risks, disclosure of conflicts of interest, disclosure of funding information and funding agency involvement, whether the article was framed as a controversy, and overall tone in both newspaper articles and medical journal reports of clinical trials.
One guidance will attempt to provide more clarity on the procedures for granting waivers, another will specify when briefing documents become publicly available and a third will outline when waivers for conflicts of interest will be available to the public.
Michael Gagan, Rose & Kindel deputy managing director, said the lobbying firm has similar rules to avoid conflicts of interest.
The high level of conflicts of interest, and the imbalance of views on committees, raise questions about NAS compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), according to CSPI.
Recently, the issue of ethical behavior in procurement has become increasingly critical to many organizations, especially with regard to conflicts of interest, such as accepting gifts from suppliers (Cooper et al.
They accurately pointed out that the act draws a distinction between conflicts of interest, which hinge on financial self-interest, and bias, which may exist for a host of reasons including research funding sources.