When there are conflicts of interest, you can almost guarantee that they will atleast sometimes lead to bad outcomes. Surprisingly, in many states, real estate agents can represent both the buyer and the seller in a home transaction.
The Activity 3 describes the several examples of conflicts of interest faced by people at work. The incentives paid to the professional job workers, work reasonably well for the progress of their parent organization, if they are synonymous with the professional responsibilities shouldered to their employees. But in situations other way round, conflicts of interest are created that may lead to serious social and economic problem for the overall business organization. The conflict of interests may also persuade the employees to work against their professional ethics and hurt their clients and employers. Thus, eradication of the roots of the conflict of interest is one of the effective methods to reduce the unethical behaviors of the professionals.
The Activity 4 describes the pressure on individuals of taking cues from the actions of other people as conformity bias. This conformity bias is very high when the peer group are co-employees and close friends. The important virtue of loyalty is many a times the prominent reason for conformity among individuals, working in groups. Further group thinking may also exacerbate the conformity bias among the individuals. The psychological and organizational pressures can even make good intentioned individuals to lie and behave unethically, despite of the good character they possess.
The Activity 5 describes several circumstances and situations of ethical fading. This phenomenon makes an individual to forget about the ethical dimensions of the actions taken by oneself, for one’s own benefit. As time passes on these individuals realize the unethical side of their past actions and start fetching for opportunities restore their clean self image. The moral disengagement thus allows individuals to suspend their personal ethical codes, yet continuing viewing themselves as ethical people.
1. I have experienced conflict of interest as a student, while drafting my project report during the summer internship. The Report had to include analysis and findings on the work scheduling practices of the company, for which I was working as a summer intern. I had come across several loopholes in the work scheduling practices of the company; however I avoided mentioning them in my report as it was to be undersigned by my project guide, who was an employee of that company.
2. Eliminating the root cause of this potential conflict would be an effective way to avoid further unethical behavior from my side. This may be best done by me and others by adhering to the rules and regulations drafted by the policy makers. Always following the rules and procedures makes one’s actions ethical and moral.
3. The librarian of the college wanted to read a newly launched book. Hence he had refrained from issuing that book to a fellow student who had asked it on the very next day after the launch. The librarian has lied that all the copies of that book were issued, out of his own personal interest to read that book.
4. Modern Organizations of today are adapting stricter ethical codes of conduct and policies that are refraining employees from unethical practices and behaviors. Several of the Organizations have also included monetary incentives as part of the compensation structure of the staff member for rewarding ethical behavior at work place.
1. I remember an incident of filling up a feedback form of a guest lecturer that had visited our college for getting self interviewed. The majority of the students in my class found that lecturer boring and decided to rate the feedback-form negatively. I followed the crowd and gave less average ratings to this speaker. I always regret this action when I think of this incidence as I know that the speaker had good fundamental knowledge and could have fetched better ratings, alas, this conformity bias.
2. Cheating is a part of a character of an individual, with may not be linked with the conformity behavior, as it is purely associated with behavioral aspects of an individual. I do not think so that cheating might be a contagious action, as it is highly associated with sheer character of an individual.
3. Loyalty is a positive trait. But an individual should also abide by one’s own principles and character in any of the actions that he performs. Simply getting influenced by group decisions that seems unethical, but are supported by group is as good as cheating one’s own self. An individual should try to carefully intervene in the unethical and wrong actions directed by the group and should firmly explain the group without fearing the mob mentality.
4. Yes, I had experience a similar situation when two of my friends insisted to bunk classes for a movie. Four other nodded their heads and the decision was taken. I was a part of this circle of friends and was afraid to negate the group decision. However I offered to plead them to go for movie after classes with great courage, rather than following their wrong decision.
1. The concept of ethical fading can be explained as a simple brain activity of thoughtfully forgetting the unethical side of a particular action and continuing that action for one’s own benefit. Ethical fading did happen in my case while eating snacks at a nearby food joint. This food joint did employ some of the child laborers that worked in their kitchen. I had decided never to visit that snack joint for this reason. However, on last Friday, since the college canteen was closed, I was hungry and tempted to order snacks from this outlet.
2. Yes, as I narrated this earlier, there was a guest lecturer that had visited our college for an interview. We students were asked to fill feedback form for his lecture. In an attempt to fit in between my friends, I stood by the majority of the crowd and gave a negative rating. I always regret this action when I think of this incidence as I know that the speaker had good fundamental knowledge and could have fetched better ratings.
3. Yes, one of my friend’s had worked as an auditor with a firm, during his summer internship. The friend of mine wanted to fetch good remarks on his project certificate, and wanted to be in good books of the firm. Thus, he carefully avoided all the negative audit remarks in his report and gave a clean chit feedback to the company in his complied report. He was certainly a victim of ethical fading.
1.The conflicts of interest should be rightly avoided as they might create consequences that may lead to serious social and economic problem for the overall society. The eradication these conflict of interest is one of the effective methods to reduce the unethical behaviors of the professionals.
2.The psychological and organizational pressures can make good intentioned individuals to lie and behave unethically, despite of the good character they possess. This may be described as conformity bias that has to be fought by individuals by staying grounded to their character and morals.
3.Individuals should also guard themselves against the ethical fading, as these actions would later make them regret their own actions.
Ethics and morality is all about how human minds work in the situations encountered by them. The best way to maintain one’s ethical composition is by adherence to the principles of conduct and principles of morality in a society or a work environment. Abiding by the rules and regulations of the law makers is always a guideline for the individuals to maintain accurate ethic levels in their thoughts and actions.
Bowman, J.S. and Menzel, D.C., 1998, Teaching Ethics and Values in Public Administration Programs: Innovations, Strategies and Issues, SUNY Press: Albany
British Columbia Lottery Corporation, 2014, Standards of Ethical Business conduct for British Columbia Lottery Corporation Employees, Retrived on January 28.
Cohn, A., Fehr, E., Herrmann, B., & Schneider, F., 2011, Social comparison in the workplace: Evidence from a field experiment, IZA Discussion Paper No. 5550
Henrique, I., & Sadorsky, P., 1999, The relationship between environmental commitment and managerial perceptions of stakeholder importance, The Academy of Management Journal, 42(1), 87-99.
Mayhem Ruth, 2013, Examples of conformity in the workplace, Houston Chronicle, Retrieved on January 28, 2015, from
Painter, Richard, 2009, Getting the Government America Deserves: How Ethics Reform Can Make a Difference, Oxford University Press.
Pearson, J.M., Crosby, L. and Shim, J.P., 1997, Measuring the Importance of Ethical Criteria Behavior, Communications of the ACM, 40, 9, 94-100.
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