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October 2015: The Good Project Newsletter
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Dear Good Project Friends,

We hope that you are all well, and welcome to the redesigned Good Project newsletter! This month, we are thrilled to announce the launch of our new blog "The Professional Ethicist," now available on the Good Project's website. We also discuss cross-cultural ethics. The Good Idea of the Month is Engagement at Work.
 
If you have ideas for future newsletters or would like your own work to be highlighted, please email Danny Mucinskas at daniel_mucinskas@harvard.edu.  
 
Sincerely,
The Good Team
New Blog "The Professional Ethicist" Now Available

We are excited to introduce “The Professional Ethicist,” a new blog from the Good Project in which Howard Gardner and others will discuss vexed ethical issues that arise in the workplace and also in other sectors of society.

The name of the blog was selected by Gardner for two reasons: 1) the blog will largely address questions that arise in one or more professions; and 2) most individuals are interested in the ethics of particular vocations or areas of focus. In the blog, we deliberately cast our net widely across the professional landscape and beyond. Our aspiration is that others will also contribute and that this blog will become a “go-to” place for many who crave careful consideration of the most challenging issues that arise in work and life. We want the blog to become interactive in content and form; we plan to structure some blogs as dialogues between us and members of other organizations and seek a robust commentary from readers.

We anticipate a new blog every two weeks or so via the Good Project’s website and social media outlets. Click here to visit the Professional Ethicist’s webpage today and read the first two posts by Howard Gardner!
Cross-Cultural Ethics

In today’s globalized world, cross-cultural interaction is more frequent than ever before as we communicate with others from around the world. But how does ethics differ across cultures, and might this have an effect on how a person handles ethical dilemmas?

Paromita De recently commented for our website on the influence of culture on conceptions of morality in response to a newly launched study comparing Chinese and American moral behavior.

Another study from this year looked at how US and international graduate students handle ethical dilemmas, finding that although international students were slightly more prone to oversimplification of quandaries and scored lower on ethical decision making skills overall, the disparity was slight. Both groups responded well to ethical training sessions.

Clearly, despite some differences, people from diverse backgrounds share the same capabilities to act ethically and cultivate moral compasses guided by the same values. However, societal norms from one’s country of origin exert an influence on how ethical questions are handled.

Have you witnessed any differences in how you handle ethical dilemmas in your own life compared to people raised in other countries? Are you able to appreciate the motivations behind the actions of others in these types of circumstances? How can you cultivate a mutual understanding of the issues at hand when tricky situations arise?
Good Idea of the Month: 
Engagement at Work

According to our research, Good Work in any domain satisfies three requirements: Excellence, Ethics, and Engagement (the “3 Es”). Engagement in this case signifies that an individual finds their work to be enjoyable or meaningful, and the engaged worker who finds some sort of satisfaction in their profession will be more likely to stay invested and navigate ethical quandaries with skillful nuance.

However, a recent op-ed in the New York Times by Barry Schwartz cited disconcerting statistics about engagement on the job: a Gallup poll of last year found that nearly 90 percent of those surveyed felt “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” in the workplace. What can we do to rectify this situation that will allow more people to feel engaged in their work?

Schwartz suggests that we all want to feel engagement in our work but that opportunities to feel engaged are sometimes not provided; when people are presented with the chance to increase engagement in their work, studies indicate that they jump at the chance. Evidence also does not support that we have to give up efficiency for satisfaction; workers can be both efficient and invested.

Schwartz recommends that employees at all levels be given more of a say in how they do their jobs and more opportunities to learn and grow. He also suggests that we emphasize how all lines of work makes the lives of others better, from a doctor curing a patient of an ailment to a fast food worker making a meal easier for a busy parent.

Do you feel engaged in your own work? If yes, what are the factors that allow you to feel engaged? If no, what are the obstacles you face to engagement?
Visit Our Website
Recent Blog Posts

Good Work in Academia: A Dutch Perspective
The second in a two-part series about research investigating the nature of Good Work among Dutch professionals in higher education.

Global Citizens Youth Summit Students Share Ideas on Good Work

High school students reflect on the meaning of Good Work in the context of global citizenship.
Links of Interest

Making Fun of Doing Good: What We Can Learn from The Onion
Commentary on The Onion's article satirizing the view that Good Work is only worthwhile in the absence of more profitable alternatives.

Cases highlight Canada Post carriers’ moral dilemma with delivering offensive material
How should postal workers handle the ethical dilemma of delivering potentially offensive material?

An innovative form of cheating emerges in MOOCs
Prof. Andrew Ho of the Harvard Graduate School of Education explains one new way that cheating happens in online courses.

Keeping an eye on screen time
Prof. Steven Gortmaker of the T.H. Chan School of Public Health discusses the effects of too much screen time and gives tips to parents.

Honesty Can Be Cultivated
Bill Damon and Anne Colby argue that we can bring truth back to public discourse and make honesty valuable to society.

Harvard Making Education a Priority for Everyone
The Huffington Post puts the spotlight on various efforts at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, including a quote from the Good Project's own Howard Gardner.

How to help children think before they speak
The "rings of responsibility" framework is one tool from the Good Project currently being used in the classroom to cultivate empathy and reflection in young people.
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