A conflict of interest is a situation in which a person (or entity) with a vested interest in a company becomes unreliable because of the clash between personal interests and professional interests. In effect it means that the person is conflicted between their personal interests and that which is in the interest in the organisation they represent (e.g. a staff member with external business interests may be conflicted in situations where they may benefit by promoting their own personal interests ahead of those of the organisation).
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