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Topics: Ethics, Leadership, Legal Project Management
Conflict of interest situation
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What tips / advice do you have for practitioners to help them recognize they are facing a conflict of interest situation? What flags they should be looking for?
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Conflict of Interest can arise from various situations such as Relatives being involved whether as a procurement third party or within the project itself for example. Such situations should be handled with care as they are sensitive.
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Conflict of interest is multi dimensional .It could be for gaining supremacy in knowledge,status,popularity,physical ,spiritual,greed,preference-list is pretty long .Generally it is between two entities who compete with each other to protect and preserve their interest.It can either take ugly turn with unimaginable consequences if both the parties are not prepared for a compromise or reconcile with one party accepting the supremacy of other party .Conflict of interest is like a game/contest where you have three options-Win,loose or share the interest.
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Conflict of interest also arises in the Plan Procurement process, when a supplier that does not meet the selection criteria is used due to other reasons (typically to provide business to an acquaintance or former colleague of project sponsor or steering committee).
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Is your particular situation occurring during a bid or proposal or during execution of a contract?
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We should take in mind that conflicts of interest sometimes are linked to the culture.

For example in Spain having a relative in your company can be a conflict of interests. In the state that I'm living now, they encourage the contraction of relatives.

But in both countries will be a conflict of interest during a bidding for a 3rd party.

In order to properly understand if you are having a conflict is read carefully your contract and the organization rules.
Anonymous
Conflict of interest is the most challenging ethical issues, as it needs not to produce clear evidence of harm.

Most of the time, just the PERCEPTION that someone is pursuing his/her own interest, instead of the project's ones, can damage a reputation.

Therefore, it is fundamental to avoid relationships that may have great potential for a conflict of interest.
If it arises, work with all the stakeholders to resolve the conflict with emphasis on their best interest
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Conflicts of interest are sensitive, and delicate matters.
Practitioners and professionals need to proper handle them.
A set of well defined competencies are necessary to handle them.
A person involved in a conflict of interest requires a strong spirit of observation, a keen desire to make things right, good judgement, decisive decision making skills, a good political acumen to understand the complexities around the situation, and a good ability in navigating the realms of consequences of their disclosure.
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Thank you for your responses
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A conflict of interest is quite common phenomenon.
Occurs in almost every aspect of a task - ofcourse what differs is the scale and magnitude of the "difference of opinion".

Usually, conflict arises due to a disagreement of time / cost / sharing of resources / method of execution. In addition to that, there are chances that the conflict has arisen due to personal interests / fear of loss / fear of unknown / or a mere perception of opinion.

For a person directly in conflict with someone - factual evidence and / or data with numbers is the key. If the person could prove with the help of data representations on the merits then chances are the audience / decision makers would be inclined to listen. Any loose ends or gaps - the topic of conflict is just going to be argumentative / ugly.

For a mediator stuck in a conflict between two individuals or groups - the key would be a stakeholder analysis - power V/s influence v/s interest thereby in checking who is powerful, who is interested, etc etc.

In addition to that, what might help is in understanding who is capable of execution, to what extent and how well.
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1 reply by Chandrashekhar Thatte
Feb 28, 2017 7:09 AM
Chandrashekhar Thatte
...
very good analysis,Shreeram ! Crisp and to the point.
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Feb 28, 2017 7:06 AM
Replying to shreeram madangopal
...
A conflict of interest is quite common phenomenon.
Occurs in almost every aspect of a task - ofcourse what differs is the scale and magnitude of the "difference of opinion".

Usually, conflict arises due to a disagreement of time / cost / sharing of resources / method of execution. In addition to that, there are chances that the conflict has arisen due to personal interests / fear of loss / fear of unknown / or a mere perception of opinion.

For a person directly in conflict with someone - factual evidence and / or data with numbers is the key. If the person could prove with the help of data representations on the merits then chances are the audience / decision makers would be inclined to listen. Any loose ends or gaps - the topic of conflict is just going to be argumentative / ugly.

For a mediator stuck in a conflict between two individuals or groups - the key would be a stakeholder analysis - power V/s influence v/s interest thereby in checking who is powerful, who is interested, etc etc.

In addition to that, what might help is in understanding who is capable of execution, to what extent and how well.
very good analysis,Shreeram ! Crisp and to the point.
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