Q.) Conflict of interest in the public sector arises when:
(a) official duties,
(b) public interest, and
(c) personal interest
are taking priority one above the other. How can this conflict in administration be resolved? Describe with an
Conflict of interest involves conflict between a public official’s duty to serve the public interest and the
public official’s private interest. Public servants play various roles in their daily lives; they inherently possess many
different interests and loyalties. At any given time these interests may compete. Such conflicts are a part of life and
are unavoidable. For example: When you official duty calls for obeying your political boss but public interest
requires going against his will.
Thus, civil servants not only have to remove the actual conflict of interest but also any kind of
misperception created by the conflict of interest. The conflict can be resolved using four Rs – Register, Restrict,
Recruit and Remove:
Register – where details of the conflict of interest are declared and registered. In low-risk situations this
single strategy may be sufficient.
Restrict – where restrictions are placed on the officer’s involvement in the matter.
Recruit – where a disinterested third party is used to oversee part or all of the process that deals with the
Remove – where the officer chooses, or is requested, to be removed completely from the matter.
For example, a judge of any court can recues himself/herself from the case in which his/her kin are involved. In long
term, rules must be made and codified (in code of conduct) to avoid even a potential conflict that may arise in
A poorly-managed perceived conflict of interest can be just as damaging as a poorly-managed actual conflict of
interest. Public officials must not only behave ethically, they must also be seen to behave ethically.