conflict of interest

noun (plural: conflicts of interest)

When a person is involved in more than one interest, and the possibility exists for one interest to corrupt their behaviour in another.

An interest might be a job, business, investment, legal role, or other interest.

Conflict of interest is not a synonym for corruption. A conflict of interest exists regardless of whether or not any corrupt behaviour actually occurs.

For example, if a member of government owns a construction company that is bidding on a government contract, that is a conflict of interest. The conflict exists even before the bid is awarded, regardless of who it is eventually rewarded to, and regardless of the behaviour (good or bad) of that member of government.

As professionals, real estate agents are expected to never place themselves in a conflict of interest.

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