A conflict of interest can be defined as “(1) 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, or (2) a situation in which a party’s responsibility to a second-party limits its ability to discharge its responsibility to a third-party” (http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/conflict-of-interest.html).
In the educational technology field, a conflict of interest can occur in a variety of situations. For example, educational technologists who do freelance consulting work for a technology vendor may have an incentive to convince their primary employer to purchase the consulting company’s product, or may have difficulty separating time spent working for the consulting company from time spent on their primary employment. It is important to be aware of these potential conflicts and consider how to avoid them. Also keep in mind that the appearance of conflict of interest may harm your professional reputation even when you are confident you are managing the situation appropriately.