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Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner is the Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero.

Be Ready to Quit

Assuming that you have any choice in the matter, you should never accept a position unless you are clear in your own mind under what conditions you will resign that position. Otherwise, you are sacrificing your own judgment and are simply an automaton in someone else's enterprise. On National Public Radio, I once called a well-known member of the government a "prostitute" because even though he clearly did not agree with President George W. Bush's disastrous policies, he remained in the government. It was clear to me that he had made a pact with the devil and was unable to release himself from that pact.

Like many others, I have been deeply influenced by Albert O Hirshman's book Exit, Voice and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations and States. A person in a governmental position owes the regime, and his supervisor a certain degree of loyalty; but at a certain point he must speak up; and if he sees that his voice is ineffective, he should resign. I personally favor resignation accompanied by a stated reason; but sometimes, it makes sense to resign quietly.

I don't think that Livni is in a position to join a Netanyahu coalition. But if she did, and she had any sense of the conditions under which she would leave the coalition, she would be resigning very quickly.

By Howard Gardner

 |  February 23, 2009; 10:50 AM ET
Category:  Followership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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