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* This Greater Good section, Research Digests, offers short summaries of recent studies on happiness, empathy, compassion, and more. Quick to read, easy to digest—we review the research so you don’t have to! Subscribe to the Research Digests RSS feed to receive future digests.


How Can We Become More Engaged at Work?

"An Evidence-Based Model of Work Engagement"

Bakker, A.B. Current Directions in Psychological Science, Vol. 20 (4), August 2011, 265-269.

Employees are more satisfied and productive in their jobs when they’re more engaged with their work—but how can employers promote worker engagement? This study offers some answers. Reviewing more than 30 prior studies, it found that if workers receive more social support from colleagues and supervisors, more performance feedback, and more opportunities for learning, they report personal growth and do better work. The study also suggests that managers who let employees choose and negotiate job tasks, who place high demands on their employees, and who also provide employees with opportunities for rest and recovery foster growth for both employees and the organizations for which they work. —Raymond Firmalino

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Who Gets Forgiven?

"Offender Variables: Unique Predictors of Benevolence, Avoidance, and Revenge?"

Carmody, P. & Gordon, K. Personality and Individual Differences, Vol. 50 (7), May 2011, 1012-1017.

What makes someone more forgivable? This study asked 214 undergraduates to both recall a past relationship in which someone betrayed them and say how likely they were to avoid that person or seek revenge against them—typical signs of unforgiveness. The researchers also asked about the characteristics of the offender, trying to determine what types of people are more likely to receive forgiveness. They found that people seemed more forgiving toward offenders who they had seen as more conscientious, honest, humble, and benevolent in the past. —Bernie Wong

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