Saturday, October 23, 2010

Is a Board Position a Conflict of Interest?

Via CSR-News (Chris MacDonald).
Finally, it’s worth noting (again and again) that being in a Conflict of Interest isn’t automatically unethical. (So it’s not, contrary to the headline used in another newspaper’s story about this issue, an accusation.) It is possible to end up in a Conflict of Interest through no fault of your own. And, finding yourself in a COI, what matters is what you do about it. Disclosing the COI to the person or organization relying on your judgment is usually considered step 1, and removing yourself from key decisions, if possible, is another standard move. But COI is at least sometimes worth tolerating, if managed appropriately. That does mean, though, that we should all be expected to think carefully, before putting ourselves into a Conflict of Interest, whether the risks are manageable, and whether in the end those risks are sufficient to constitute a disservice to those who rely upon our judgment.
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