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Ethical work in a bottom-line time

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A good job well done.

It's a goal most people hope to achieve when they head off to work each day. But what exactly does it take to produce work that is both excellent in quality and that benefits society, particularly in today's market-driven times?

It's a question Harvard education professor Howard Gardner addresses in the new book "Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet." Professor Gardner, known for his multiple-intelligences theory that defines distinct ways individuals perceive the world, wrote the book along with Stanford University education professor William Damon and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a professor at the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University in California.

They interviewed hundreds of people at different stages in their careers. All were asked to discuss their aspirations, decisions, and the ethical dilemmas they have faced at work.

The survey's twist: All of those interviewed worked in either journalism or genetics. Genetics, the professors found, seems to have entered a sort of "golden age." Scientists, the public, and genetics firms all have similar goals.

Journalism, on the other hand, was found to be facing a crisis: Media moguls, reporters, and the public frequently want very different things, often forcing journalists to make tough ethical choices.

On top of that, both professions have come under sharp ethical scrutiny. Already-intense cloning debates have gotten more heated with the human embryo cloning in Worcester, Mass. recently, and journalists have been the subject of both high praise and critical questioning for their post-Sept. 11 coverage.

The professors are now studying several other professions and are adding to the study variables such as cultural background and age. In a recent interview, Mr. Gardner discussed some of the group's findings so far:

On why the project interests him:


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