Making Good: How Young People Cope with Moral Dilemmas at Work

Wendy Fischman, Author, Becca Solomon, Author, Deborah Greenspan, Author
Wendy Fischman, Author, Becca Solomon, Author, Deborah Greenspan, Author Harvard University Press $39 (208p) ISBN 978-0-674-01194-6
Reviewed on: 03/01/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-674-01830-3
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This sociological study examines the mounting ethical dilemmas that young adults face as they enter today's workforce and attempt to scale the proverbial professional ladder. The authors explore training, mentoring and the temptation to cut corners for advancement by comparing interviews with veterans and novices of three high pressure professions: journalism, genetics research and theatre. As readers may expect after last year's Jayson Blair scandal at the New York Times (before the story broke, Blair was slated to participate in this book's study, but never showed up for interviews), the authors' findings are less than heartening.""Over and over, too often for comfort, we heard participants express their willingness to cross lines"" in order to get ahead. They found young journalists, for example, highly unreliable for interviews and easily swayed to overlook slight transgressions despite an avowed dedication to fair and accurate reporting. While seasoned journalists often recalled their debt to early heroes and mentors, the younger generation tended to view their training and potential rise as a solitary endeavor. The book suggests several factors, like peer support, inspirational mentors and a long-standing value system, that are likely to inspire young people to produce""good work""--work that is both skillful and honorable. However, as the researchers themselves point out, this study is only the beginning of understanding today's workplace dynamics and how to better prepare the next generation to approach ethical challenges.
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