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Conflict of interest, like its sibling conflict of commitment, is a complex and important branch of employee ethics in higher education that can have significant legal ramifications for individuals and institutions. In their most common context, conflicts of interest refer to situations in which the judgment and actions of employees may be influenced by personal financial considerations or the potential to benefit personally from their decisions. As such, conflicts of interest interfere with the ideal of independent, fair, and impartial judgment of employees.

In higher education, conflicts of interest may arise in different contexts, including accepting gifts related to decisions made in connection with employees' official duties; acting as, or making specific recommendations for, agents or attorneys; using or profiting from confidential information acquired during the ...

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