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GoodWork Project

From 1995 to 2005, the GoodWork Project (GWP) investigated how individuals are able to carry out "good work" in their chosen professions when conditions are changing at unprecedented rates and when market forces are enormously powerful. By GoodWork, we mean work that is at once of high quality, socially responsible, and beneficial to the worker. The GWP was a collaboration between Howard Gardner (Harvard University), William Damon (Stanford University), and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Claremont Graduate University), and was supported by their teams at these universities. It is documented in the books
Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet (Gardner, Csikszentmihalyi, and Damon, 2001),
Good Business: Leadership, Flow and the Making of Meaning (Csikszentmihalyi, 2003), and The Moral Advantage (Damon, 2004).

Since its inception, researchers at the GWP interviewed over 700 leading practioners (and approximately 100 young workers) in a range of professions including journalism, genetics, theater, jazz, law, business, dance, philanthropy, martial arts, and higher education. We focused on individuals who exemplify the understanding of GoodWork that the GWP has developed: 1) they are recognized as experts in their professional area; 2) they attempt to act in ways that are socially and morally responsible; and 3) they find personal meaning in their work. The ultimate goal of the GWP is to bring attention to the nature of GoodWork and to attempt to increase its incidence throughout our society. In developing an understanding of what these individuals do, the GWP intends to create models of GoodWork to encourage its practice in the future.

Three of the professions studied were managed from the Center on Adolescence. They are: