Integral Review

A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal For New Thought, Research, and Praxis

Posts Tagged ‘meaning-making’

The Generality of Adult Development Stages and Transformations: Comparing Meaning-making and Logical Reasoning

Tom Hagström and Kristian Stålne

Abstract: Human development theories differ in “context sensitivity,” covering those stressing development stages and those stressing continuously progressing changes. The former theories differ in whether, how and why the stages are regarded as being generalized across domains, i.e. their generality claims. Piaget’s developmental stage theory of logical complexity of children and adolescents fulfill “strong” such claims, including fixed stage sequentiality of increasing complexity levels and higher stage structures integrating earlier ones. His theory has inspired a number of adult development stage theories with varying generality claims. These provide suggestions of stages and stage transitions reaching beyond “pure” cognition, integrating more of e.g. emotional, value and moral dimensions. From a neo-Piagetian perspective, core generality aspects seem to concern on the one hand logical reasoning and on the other hand meaning-making. This raises questions of how these aspects are related to each other in terms of stage structures and transformations.

The aim of the article is to discern general features in adult development stage structures and transitions, in terms of logical reasoning and meaning making. This is carried out by a “thought experiment” interrelating two theories that differ in these respects but that are both based on Piaget’s theory, namely Robert Kegan’s constructive developmental Subject-Object Theory (SOT) and Michael Common´s behaviouristic Model of Hierarchical Complexity (MHC). This comparing approach concerns the 3rd, 4th and 5th order of consciousness as well as transitions between these according to SOT, and order 9 to 12 and corresponding transitions according to MHC. The thought experiment indicates that the generality claims of both models can be argued for without one of them necessarily being subordinated to the other one. Both theories are interpreted as differing but partly overlapping structures of coherence, while also being involved in transformative thesis-antithesis-synthesis processes. The possible interrelatedness between logical reasoning and meaning making is considered and discussed, as well as the relevance of differing generality claims, and contrasting subjectivistic and objectivistic “scientific positions.” Finally, it is argued for the need of contextualizing adult development theory and research by relating it to postindustrial societal demands and challenges in terms of e.g. a “transform-actional” approach.”

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The Meaning-making of Dag Hammarskjöld

Kristian Stålne

Abstract: Dag Hammarskjöld, United Nations’ second Secretary-General 1954-1961, is getting recent attention for two reasons: he is going to front the new Swedish 1000-kronor note, the highest value; and this September it was 50 years since he was killed in an airplane crash in UN service in Congo. With that event, the most successful career in an international service that a Swede has ever had was terminated prematurely, a service that would set an unmistakable imprint on the UN organization as well as on the world stage of politics. But what made Dag Hammarskjöld such an exceptional leader and how did he view the world and his role in it? He was not only exceptional as a leader and world-centric visionary; he was also a mystic and an aesthetician with a highly analytic mind. What is unique is the fact that large parts of his thinking and personal struggling are available to the world through a dense material of his speeches and personal writings. This has made it possible to analyse the stages of development represented in them. Using ego development theory, described by Jane Loevinger as well as Robert Kegan, I offer the analysis that his writings, including during his most severe personal crisis, indicate he passed through a transition between the individualist and autonomous stages.

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Good, Clever and Wise: A study of political meaning-making among integral change agents

Thomas Jordan in an Interview with Russ Volckmann

Abstract: Thomas Jordan discusses the intellectual and research foundations that have led to his creation of a consciousness development model. In interview research that he conducted among selected personnel in Swedish defense and security agencies, Jordan has focused on three key skill sets: consciousness skills, self-awareness and embeddedness or identification. From this he has identified seven characteristics that show up in various patterns among those he interviewed. The first three—good, clever, and wise—are key characteristics. The next four follow from them: curious, inventive, modest and handy. These show up in variable combinations among these integral change agents involved with promoting change within political institutions.

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