The effects of disclosing conflict of interest on consultation: A comparative study of voluntary and mandatory disclosure



Conflict of interest (COI) can lead people to give biased(self-interested) consultation. Disclosure is often proposed as a remedy for COI, but prior studies have reported inconsistent results. This study compared the effects of voluntary and mandatory disclosure on consultation. A total of 57 participants were randomly assigned to 3 conditions: voluntary disclosure, mandatory disclosure, and non-disclosure. Participants were asked to provide consultation to a virtual partner in an on-line experiment. A questionnaire was administered to examine moral licensing effects. The results showed that regardless of disclosure type(voluntary or mandatory), participants who disclosed COI were less likely to provide biased consultation. Also, among the participants who gave highly biased consultation(above average of total biased consultation), participants who disclosed COI were more likely to consider their upwardly biased consultation as morally correct than non-disclosure condition. Implications and limitations are further discussed.


Key words: Conflicts of interest, Disclosure, Voluntary Disclosure, Mandatory Disclosure, Moral licensing

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