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Archive for September, 2010

The Truth on Campus Diversity Initiatives

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

There has been much debate on the issue of collegiate diversity and the admissions processes.  A few recent articles highlight the emotion involved in this societal issue and we feel this is a topic worth discussing.  Regardless of where you stand on this issue, it is important to view the results, or lack there of, from collegiate diversity initiatives.  According to Paul Gorski, the founder of an organization called EdChange, educational institutions rarely dig deep enough to enact real diversity progress.  According to his view, schools must go beyond the surface to change fundamental and structural systems in order to reap the true benefits of a diverse school body.  Visit this article by Newsweek Education titled The Invisible Campus Color Line and then return to suggest ways schools can make diversity an integral part of the university.

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Empathy Proven to Increase Generosity

September 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Be proud of yourself, America.  Your tendency to actually give to others has risen 187% since 1954.  In 2005, over 65 million Americans volunteered to help charities. Many factors have been sited as to the reason for this trend, but 96% percent of volunteers said that one of their motivations was “feeling compassion toward other people”.  Are we actually becoming more empathetic?  A recent study suggests that we are.  On a biological basis, we now know the reason for the “feeling of compassion”: a chemical released in the body known as Oxytocin.  This chemical has been scientifically proven to increase “generous behavior” up to 80% compared to a placebo pill.  What does this tell us?  That we are naturally equipped with mechanisms that spur us to be empathetic.  In further study, scientists found that once empathy was increased in an individual, that individual was now much more likely to move to action, actually helping other people.  This study, provided by Science Daily, highlights the natural inclining in us to help others.  The business world should take note as well.  Creating an environment that produces feelings of compassion and empathy provides the organization with concerned, involved employees that truly care about the well-being of their co-workers.  Does your organization evoke feelings of compassion?  Are employees given the opportunity to act on their natural tendency to help others?  In truth, we all could use a little brushing up on our empathetic tendencies.  Share with us your stories of how helping others resulted in benefit for yourself, the helped person, and the organization.

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September 22, 2010 Leave a comment

A good indication of cultural survival is the continued use of traditional languages and dialects.  People who are unable to readily communicate because of language differences are more likely to maintain cultural differences as well.  Linguists estimate that the world’s peoples speak 5000-6000 languages.  The most common “native” language is Mandarin Chinese.   English is a distant third.  These facts indicate the need for global knowledge and respect in order for companies to get the most out of their efforts.  A small amount of research can go a long way to increase empathy and understanding and can also reshape individual attitudes, making them more globally acceptable.  In this increasingly interconnected world, it is important to remember that Americans are truly a minority in the scheme of things.  Adopting this paradigm will do much in the arena of business and communication.  Further your knowledge regarding some of the basic facts on world population by visiting this article on World Diversity Patterns and then return to share with us your personal experience in international communication.

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Why Paradigms Shape Policy

September 13, 2010 Leave a comment

“In the wake of the new Arizona law allowing the police to detain people they suspect of entering the country illegally, young people are largely displaying vehement opposition.  Meanwhile, baby boomers, despite a youth of “live and let live,” are siding with older Americans and supporting the Arizona law.  This emerging divide has appeared in a handful of surveys taken since the measure was signed into law, including a New York Times/CBS News poll that found that Americans 45 and older were more likely than the young to say the Arizona law was “about right” (as opposed to “going too far” or “not far enough”). Boomers were also more likely to say that “no newcomers” should be allowed to enter the country while more young people favored a “welcome all” approach.”

This quote, obtained from The New York Times writer Damien Cave, highlights the cognitive diversity in our nation regarding immigration.  Ever the “hot topic”, immigration evokes deep emotion, often triggering mechanisms in our brain that have long since been dismissed.  Science tells us the reason for this a formula of one part experience and one part expectation combined with a tendency go with our “gut” feeling.  What’s missing?  Free thought.  Subjective reasoning often leads us to make decisions that we are not consciously aware of, often to the detriment of others.  Regardless of where you stand on the immigration issue, take some time to think about how you perceive the issues in todays world.  Do you research multiple arguments?  Do you empathize with others?  For most of us, the natural answer is no.  We have our mind made up before we even learn of a developing issue.  It is this approach to problem solving that denies nature’s most vital characteristic: CONNECTEDNESS.

As you read the article found by clicking here, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/18/us/18divide.html, take some time to think of the automatic responses that we all fall victim to.  This post is not intended to sway you to one side of the immigration issue or the other.  Rather, it aims to bring conscious thought to the decisions that shape our society.  Please take some time and share with us your decision making process.