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Robert Kegan


 Robert Kegan

(1946) is the William and Miriam Meehan Professor in Adult Learning and Professional Development at Harvard University. Additionally he is the Educational Chair for the Institute for Management and Leadership in Education and the Co-director for the Change Leadership Group. Kegan is a developmental psychologist and the author of numerous books, including his most well-known work The Evolving Self (1982).

In The Evolving Self, Kegan presents a model of psychological development consisting of six "equilibrium stages": the incorporative stage, the impulsive stage, the imperial stage, the interpersonal stage, the institutional stage, and the inter-individual stage. The object of each stage is the subject of the preceding stage.

The subject of the incorporative stage are reflexes, and it has no object. The subjects of the impulsive stage are the individual's impulses and perceptions, and its objects are the reflexes. The subject of the imperial stage are the individual's needs, interests, and desires, and its objects are the individual's impulses and perceptions. The subject of the interpersonal stage are interpersonal relationships and mutuality, and its objects are the individual's needs, interests, and desires. The subject of the institutional stage are the individual's authorship, identity, and ideology, and its objects are interpersonal relationships and mutuality. The subject of the inter-individual stage is "the interpenetrability of self-systems", and its objects are the individual's authorship, identity, and ideology.

Stage 0: Incorporative stage

Subject: reflexes
Object: nothing

Stage 1: Impulsive stage

Subject: impulses, perceptions
Object: reflexes

Stage 2: Imperial stage

Subject: needs, interests, desires
Object: impulses, perceptions

Stage 3: Interpersonal stage

Subject: interpersonal relationships, mutuality
Object: needs, interests, desires

Stage 4: Institutional stage

Subject: authorship, identity, ideology
Object: interpersonal relationships, mutuality

Stage 5: Inter-individual stage

Subject: "the interpenetrability of self-systems"
Object: authorship, identity, ideology

Notable works

(with L. Lahey) Immunity to Change: How to Overcome it and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization , 2009
(with T. Wagner and L. Lahey) Change Leadership: A Practical Guide to Transforming Our Schools , 2005
(with L. Lahey) How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work: Seven Languages for Transformation, 2000
In Over Our Heads: the Mental Demands of Modern Life, 1994
The Evolving Self, 1982


Kegan, Robert. The Evolving Self. Harvard University Press, 1982. ISBN 0674272315



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