Conflict of Interest

You’d have to be nuts to behave like this!

With conflicts of interest and directors’ duties perennial topics in the world of governance, we thought we might have a bit of enlightening fun this week with a little story riddled with conflicts of interest. Your challenge is to identify the breaches of duty by this collection of ‘mixed nuts’, count them up and let us know how many you found. We’ll throw all correct responses in a hat, draw and announce the winner, present a prize and share the breaches in a subsequent blog.

Bob Jones, the local zone elected director of Bingledale Co-op, wore a worried expression as he entered the co-op’s hardware store in Palmville. The co-op had been formed over 50 years ago by a group of visionary peanut growers and had since swallowed up a number of smaller co-ops in the state. Bob, who had represented his zone for over 10 years, was a well-known figure in Palmville. Continue reading

What don’t people get about conflict of interest?

Conflict of interest is a pretty straightforward and clearly understood concept, right?

We look at any number of definitions of the term and they all have the central tenet of incompatibility.

Some tell us it’s “a situation that has the potential to undermine the impartiality of a person because of the possibility of a clash between the person’s self-interest and professional interest or public interest”.

Others talk of “a situation in which a person is in a position to derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in their official capacity”.

So what is it that people don’t get about conflict of interest? Continue reading