Ethics & Interests
How do ethics relate to competing interests? Analyze and discuss.
- Your initial post should be at least 200 words, formatted and cited in proper APA style with support from at least 2 academic sources. Your initial post is worth 8 points.
- You should respond to at least two of your peers by extending, refuting or correcting, or adding additional nuance to their posts. Your reply posts are worth 2 points (1 point per response.)
- All replies must be constructive and use literature where possible.
Post by classmate 1
According to Cooper (2019.), conflict of interest is a type of unethical behavior. It occurs when an individual has competing interests or has their loyalties split between two or more parties because they have a duty to more than one party. When a person has a conflict of interest he/she cannot do justice to the conflicting interests of the parties. For example, an employee may have a loyalty to his/her employer as well as loyalty to his/her business. Each of these two parties expects the employee to have its best interest before others. Conflict of interest in such a case may occur when, for example, the employee needs to make a decision where his employer organization and his/her business have interests.
Conflict of interest can lead to situations in which an individual’s personal, financial, as well as non-financial concerns can potentially influence his/her professional judgment or compromise it. Like other unethical activities, conflict of interest has a risk of consequences that are criminalized under federal and state laws, especially if it takes place in the public sector. Some cases of public conflict of interest are subject to prosecution. For example, there is a criminal conflict of interest by the federal government that bans government employees from engaging in official business where they also have a financial interest or a close family member has a financial interest (Cooper, 2019).
Cooper (2019.) advises that when an individual is faced with a potential situation that can lead to a conflict of interest, he/she should try to avoid it, disclose it, or recuse it. These strategies enable a person to avoid the situation which could turn to be unethical. If left unchecked, conflicts of interest can lower public trust and therefore should be avoided whenever it is possible; when it is difficult to avoid them, it is essential to manage them with transparency.
Cooper, T. L. (2019). Handbook of Administrative Ethics. New York, New York: Marcel Dekker.
Post by classmate 2
A conflict of interest defined a ” a situation in which a person, such as a public official, an employee, or a professional, has a private personal interest sufficient to appear to influence the objective exercise of his or her official duties” (McDonald 2019). In short, it is an unethical practice in which a person is trying to gain something out of their primary job or duty. Competing interests are posted all the time on the news by politicians, doctors, etc… Not only can some of these behaviors be unethical but they can also be illegal. For example, if you work for the government and use that to gain a certain contract for a private company that you own, that’s known as self-dealing and it’s often illegal. The main question to ask is if “a situation is likely to interfere with the independent judgement you are supposed to show as a professional..” (McDonald 2019). The best way to counter conflict of interests, is to remove them altogether (Sichel 2020). However, this task can seem daunting as sometimes removing the conflict of interest is quite expensive or can cause negative effects on an organization. I personally believe the best way to counter competing interests is to educate people and show them ethical ways to move forward.
McDonald, M. (2019). Ethics and Conflict of Interest. Retrieved July 15, 2020, from https://ethics.ubc.ca/peoplemcdonaldconflict-htm/ (Links to an