Ethical Risk Management in Co-operative Education Programs
Keywords:work-integrated learning, co-operative education, ethical risk, risk, risk management, ethics
Work-integrated learning (WIL) practitioners and higher education institutions (HEIs) regularly encounter ethical issues, dilemmas, or conflicts (‘risks’) in delivering WIL programs. Ethical risks that are not properly identified and managed can result in negative financial, legal and reputational consequences for the HEI. A case study of 10 Canadian WIL practitioners reported in this article identifies practices that reduce, transfer, control or eliminate ethical risk in co-operative education, a popular type of WIL program in Canadian HEIs. The findings are presented as a framework of risk management practices involving education and training, institutional support, policies and processes, collaboration with the WIL community, and student communication. A key theme underpinning the ethical risk management practices is the complexity of maintaining productive, quality relationships between three categories of WIL stakeholders- students, employers and the HEI. This study builds on earlier research revealing characteristics of ethical risk in WIL, with the subsequent findings intended to educate WIL stakeholders and assist them with evaluating and improving ethical risk management.
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