Robert Kegan - Wikipedia
Developmental Approach developed by Robert Kegan Learn with flashcards, games, and more — for free. Dr. Kegan's theory helps you understand how socially immature people th. Piaget proposed four basic stages through which the development of thinking covers between 2 and 5 years, concrete-operations between 6 and 10 years, and A lot of mistaken, fantastic and unrealistic sorts of relationships among objects in. Robert Kegan (born August 24, ) is an American developmental psychologist and author. Kegan presents a sequence of six evolutionary balances: incorporative, impulsive, Typically: genuinely adult love relationship. . but they rejected theories of global developmental stages, such as Kegan's earlier writings.
This is to say, at first, babies have little idea how to interpret anything, and the only perspective they have with which to interpret things is their own scarcely developed perspective.
Kegan describes this earliest period as Incorporative. The sense of self is not developed at this point in time. There is no self to speak of because there is no distinction occurring yet between self and other. In an important sense, the baby is embedded in its sensory experience and has no other awareness.
Babies practice using their senses and reflexes a lot and thus develop mental representations of those reflexes. At some point it occurs to the baby that it has reflexes that it can use and senses that it can experience. Reflex and sensation are thus the first mental objects; the first things that are understood to be distinct components of the self.
Though babies are now aware that they can take action to fulfill a need, they still are not clear that other people exist yet as independent creatures. From the perspective of the Impulsive mind, a parent is merely another reflex that can be brought to bear to satisfy impulses. The objectification of what was previously subjective experience continues as development continues. In the prior impulsive self, the self literally is nothing more and nothing less than a set of needs. The needs alone are all that exists.
Because the child is now aware that it has needs rather than is needsit also starts to become aware that it can consciously manipulate things to get its needs satisfied.
Robert Kegan’s stages of Social Maturity/ orders of consciousness
The impulsive child was also manipulative, perhaps, but in a more unaware animal manner. The imperial child is not yet aware that other people have needs too. The Interpersonal period that follows next starts with the first moment when the child comes to understand that there are actually other people out there in the world whose needs need to be taken into account along side their own. The appreciation of the otherness of other people comes about, as always by a process of expanding perspectives.
In having them I can now coordinate, or integrate, one need system with another, and in so doing, I bring into being that need-mediating reality which we refer to when we speak of mutuality. The interpersonal child is aware that other people have needs which it needs to be taken into account if it is to best satisfy its own needs.
There is no guiding principle that helps the interpersonal child to determine which set of needs is most important — its own, or those of the other people.
This is the first moment that the child can be said to have values, or commitments to ideas and beliefs and principles which are larger and more permanent than its own passing whims and fears. I try to be fair. I strive to be brave. Values, such as the Golden Rule e.
The moral, ethical and legal foundations of society follow from this basic achievement of an Institutional self. For many people, social maturity seems to stop here at the Institutional stage. Kegan himself writes that this stage is the stage of conventional adult maturity; one that many but not all adults reach, and beyond which most do not progress.
Are Adult Developmental Stages Real? | Otium
However, the potential for continued development continues onwards and upwards. Whereas before, in the interpersonal mindset, there is only one possible right way to interpret a social event e. There are precisely two ways that an Institutionally minded person might look at such an action. If he or she is of the mainstream institutional mindset, draft dodging is a non-religious sort of heresy and a crime which should be punishable.
If, on the other hand, he or she is of a counter-cultural institutional mindset, then judgements are reversed and draft dodging is seen as a brave action which demonstrates individual courage in the face of massive peer pressure to conform. An institutionally minded person can hold one or the other of these perspectives but not both, because he or she is literally embedded in one or the other of those perspectives and cannot appreciate the other except as something alien and evil.
A person who has achieved InterIndividual social maturity is able to hold both mainstream and counter-cultural value systems in mind at the same time, and to see the problem of draft dodging from both perspectives.
I just want to warn anyone who picks it up that you may have to struggle a little before you are able to appreciate the real treasure it contains.
In "The Evolving Self", Kegan described a theory of how people become progressively more socially mature across their lifespan. Though a wholly original and creative contribution, Kegan's theory borrows heavily from earlier developmental theorists, most notably from Jean Piaget, the genius swiss psychologist who practically invented modern developmental psychology.
In order to understand Kegan's theory of social maturity, we first have to understand Piaget's earlier theory of cognitive e. Before diving into Kegan, then, let's first rehash Piaget.
Piaget In A Nutshell Piaget's theory described how children's ability to think develops from birth through early adulthood. You are perhaps familiar with Piaget's stages of cognitive development.
He theorized that children pass through predictable developmental stages in which their minds develop in complexity and appreciation ability to accurately understand of reality. Piaget proposed four basic stages through which the development of thinking abilities must pass. He labeled these stages: These stages always occur in this particular order, and are for the most part linked to particular ages of life. The sensorimotor stage covers between 0 and 2 years, pre-operations covers between 2 and 5 years, concrete-operations between 6 and 10 years, and formal operations covering age 11 and beyond.
That is, at least until senility sets in - haha. The first Sensorimotor or Sensory-Motor stage is so-named because babies who are in this stage are basically preoccupied with the task of learning how to operate their bodies and interpret their senses. Though there are some instinctual abilities, babies are not, for the most part, born knowing how to do these things!
During the Sensorimotor period, babies' thinking ability is, thus, basically all about learning how to comprehend sensory input vision, hearing, touch, etc. At around age two, children have become mostly masters of their bodies — they can walk and see what is in front of them and pick things up.
Though sensory and motor sophistication continue to develop past this point, this is around the time when babies' minds first become really capable of understanding that other people and objects exist that are separate from themselves.
Before this time, babies are thinking that everything is them. Babies at this stage have made a major advance — they have figured out that they are separate than those things around them, but they still don't really get how all these different things interrelate.
A lot of mistaken, fantastic and unrealistic sorts of relationships among objects in the world seem plausible to such children. For example, they may know that they are a boy and that girls are different than boys, but they may think that they can grow up to become a girl yes, I know this can happen surgically in adulthood, but children of this stage think that it could happen just as a matter of course.
Piaget uses the term "Operations" in the manner we would use the phrase "Mental Techniques". An operation basically consists of representing something in your mind and then asking "what if", mentally transforming that thing to answer the question and visualizing the result in your mind.
One type of operation is addition, to offer a mathematical example. I can imagine two things and then perform the operation of addition to them in my mind by asking myself, "what if I had two more things? I could then report to you that there would now be four things present. All this without actually touching anything! Asking "what if" questions like this requires a major advance in the way that a baby thinks about things — the child has to be able to make a representation of an actual thing in the word in her mind an imaginary object representing an actual objectimagine that something happens to that imaginary object e.
Young children ages have a lot of trouble doing this sort of thing according to Piaget, and that is why he calls this stage between years "Pre-Operational" e. Young children can be taught to count and to do simple adding and subtracting sorts of operations, but the vast majority of those kids are simply memorizing these operations — they don't "get" or understand how those operations actually work.
Older children can understand how addition and subtraction and other more complicated operations work. Between ages or so where school age startskids enter the Concrete Operations stage. As used here, the word "concrete" doesn't mean a man-made rock, but instead to something that is tangible, and obvious; the opposite of abstract. Simple addition and subtraction are concrete operations, because it is easy to imagine some number of things, and then to take away a few of those things or add a few more things and see the result visually in one's mind.
You learn how to do these things mentally, by first actually doing them physically e. Learning proceeds from what can be visualized easily because it is concrete and obvious and only later becomes abstracted — or understood as a sort of "rule" that can be lifted out of its origins and applied to new categories of things that have never been experienced before.
You might learn how to add and subtract by playing with marbles for example, but by the time you are a certain age Piaget suggest starting around age 11 you become capable of adding and subtracting new types of things that you have never seen and which maybe don't even exist. Piaget calls this last stage of learning how to think about things "formal operations" because he is thinking that the "form" of addition or subtraction has been abstracted from the actual physical act of adding or subtracting marbles from a pile, and that form or rule can now be applied to elephants, suns, salaries and other fairly abstract categories of stuff.
At this point I have to put in a disclaimer. I have not picked up any books about Piaget and his stages in the writing of this essay — this is all from my head, and therefore the facts and the details are probably wrong in my above description.
What is worse, Piaget himself was wrong about a lot of the details! Subsequent researchers have demonstrated that various operations happen earlier than Piaget thought, for instance.
It is not really important, for my purpose right now, that you have all the facts and details straight. What is important is that we go over Piaget's description of the pattern of how knowledge grows and develops in a human mind over time.
The pattern looks like this: You cannot appreciate the diversity of things in the world such as marbles, people, and elephants to name but a few sorts of things until until you have first mastered how to work your body and interpret your senses. You cannot appreciate that four marbles minus two marbles leaves you with two marbles until you first have concrete, physical experience with marbles. This appreciation of marbles assumes that you have first figured out how to operate your senses and can physically examine a marble in some fashion.
You cannot abstractly understand that " 4 minus 2 always equals 2 " until you have first grasped that same principle concretely, by actually subtracting a few physical things like marbles from a larger set of physical things and experienced the result. Note that these are successive layers of appreciation.
Each successive layer of knowledge uses the previous layer as a foundation. More advanced, abstract understandings are not possible for people to have without their first having less advanced, more concrete experiences. Also, note that later layers are always super-sets of the prior layers. This is to say, earlier layers are included in and assumed in later layers, and later layers expand upon what has been gained from the earlier layers. If we were representing these layers as a diagram or picture e.
Read these two last ideas again a few times before proceeding, because they are critical for understanding what comes next.
How Social Maturity Develops Okay — now, let us apply Piaget's insights about how knowledge develops in successive layers not to thinking maturity, but rather to social maturity, a topic rather dear to the hearts of most people visiting this website, I expect.