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Scenarios from other Ethics topics that include conflicts of interest:
In the research environment, we are often faced with situations in which we could stand to benefit personally. These situations can include, for example, the use of University resources, telephone numbers, e-mail or web addresses to support or represent an outside activity, including businesses, hobbies and political activities. These situations constitute a conflict of interest.
Usually the technical regulations concerning conflict of interest are documented (for example, in a University handbook).
The regulations prohibit employees from improper participation in a variety of business transactions in which the employee may have an interest or be in a position to assist others, particularly those in whom the employee may have a direct or substantial economic interest (such as a spouse, or child). Appointments, terminations, promotions, demotions, and approval of salary increases all need to be carefully considered from the perspective of conflict of interest.
Some of the ethical issues explored in the three case studies below relate to the less documented situations: cases where there are no clear guidelines to follow.