Reframing Psychosocial Leadership Maturity from a Cognitive Neuroscience Perspective

Sara Lazar, Harvard Medical School 

In 1976 Loevinger proposed a model of adult human development termed “Ego Development” which describes a fundamental human process involved in understanding, integrating, and acting upon self-related and inter-personal information. The model was validated, refined, expanded, and updated over the next two decades, and is now referred to as Leadership Maturity. The model has parallel’s with Kegan’s Constructive Developmental framework. Over the past two decades, scientific research on this topic has floundered, and modernization of the model has not kept pace with similar developmental models of cognition, wisdom, and personality. This is due in part because of technical limitations of the tools used to assess ego development, though recent work has begun to solve these limitations.

The goal of this Exploratory Seminar is to reinvigorate rigorous scientific investigation into this important topic and create a comprehensive research initiative. Suzanne Cook-Greuter, the leading expert on Leadership Maturity, and Robert Kegan, the original proponent of the Constructive Developmental theory, will both be participating.  In addition, this Exploratory Seminar will bring together experts in developmental psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, cognitive complexity, and leadership maturity to explore and discuss 1) Similarities and differences between multiple developmental models; 2) A cognitive neuroscience reframing of the model; 3) Aspects of psychosocial development not captured by the current tools; 4) brainstorming ideas for novel tools to more precisely assess psychosocial development; 5) Methods to catalyze growth through the stages, and 6) application of the model to business and leadership.