Student Operator, Brookings Wastewater Treatment Plant
Ali Ibraham is a student operator at the Brookings Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brookings, South Dakota. So how did he end up learning about business ethics from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics?
Ibrahim took the Center’s MOOC Business Ethics for the Real World. Joining thousands of students from 98 countries, Ibrahim followed the self-paced online class taught by Center Executive Director Kirk Hanson.
“The course was very interesting,” he says. “It provided a brief introduction to ethical behavior skills in the field of business and how ethical dilemmas could be solved in all of life.” Ibrahim was drawn to the MOOC because, he explains, “I had some problems that had to be solved professionally.”
One problem Ibrahim pointed to was a colleague who didn’t treat other team members with respect. “It was hard to deal with this dilemma because the employee was of 'senior' status but didn’t act like it,” he says.
To Ibrahim, the hardest dilemmas are those that involve family and friends. As he puts it, “You don't want to hurt feelings or hurt relationships in any way, so it can be tough to deal with people closest to you.”
Ibrahim recognizes the role of courage in handling ethical dilemmas: “I think it takes courage to deal with issues in the workplace because you don’t want to endanger the safety of your job or the possibility of future opportunities.”
The MOOC provides students with practical advice on how to identify ethical dilemmas when they arise, how to get enough information to assess one’s responsibilities, how to analyze a complex ethical choice, and how to marshal one’s own resources and courage to act ethically.