Good for What? The Young Worker in a Global Age

Lynn Barendsen and Howard Gardner

in Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology and Work

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780195335446
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Good for What? The Young Worker in a Global Age

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  • Psychology
  • Organizational Psychology
  • Social Psychology



Society needs high-quality work. The nature of quality and the nature of work have changed in our highly technological, post-industrial society. Individuals, in particular young adults, are experiencing crises of identity just as they are entering the workforce for the first time. Rather than focus on what has gone wrong in society, in our research we have searched for exemplars of work that qualifies as “good”: work that is excellent, ethical, and personally meaningful. We articulate conditions that encourage good work, explain and learn from disparities between young and older workers, and reveal how the nature of responsibility may change over time. Taking what we have learned over a decade of research from these exemplary individuals, we apply these learnings to classrooms and other educational settings, ultimately, to foster a greater incidence of good work. Finally, we suggest particular directions for future research and practice to address the unique challenges faced by young people at this point in history.

Keywords: responsibility; work; good work; meaning; globalization

Article.  7797 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Organizational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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