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Last time I discussed the Individualist, the first of the postmodern developmental stages as described in the work of developmental expert Susanne Cook-Greuter. Now I’d like to move beyond that to the highest postconventional stage, the Strategist.

The Strategist is the highest developmental stage in which a person’s sense of self is built around a separate self, a separate individual “me.” Though in the postconventional stages there is a new awareness that everything and everyone exists in relation to everything and everyone else, and that everything is connected, the center of one’s experience is still a separate me who observes and experiences this interconnectedness. (In the stages beyond the Strategist we’ll see a new perspective in which the self is not centered in the separate self.)

Everything is relative…right?

Monday, 10 March 2008 by

Well, it sure looks that way if you’re at one of the postconventional developmental levels, those beyond the rational, conventional levels. In this post we’ll look at the first of those levels, the Individualist. I’m going to make this post fairly short by just describing this one level. And, at the end I have a recommendation for you–one that doesn’t cost anything!

In my opinion, these postconventional levels are where it REALLY DOES get interesting.

Making sense of who you are…

Wednesday, 05 March 2008 by

I promised that we would next look at the developmental levels beyond those described by Piaget. In doing so, I’m going to rely heavily on the work of Susanne Cook-Greuter, who studied under Harvard’s Robert Kegan, one of the superstars in the world of human development. At Harvard, she became involved with the most highly regarded testing instrument for determining stages of human development, Jane Loevinger’s sentence completion test, and became a certified scorer for the test.

In the Loevinger test a person completes 36 sentence fragments, and from the responses the person’s developmental level is ascertained. This test has been used since the 1950s, and has been found to be VERY accurate. A huge amount of data has been compiled over the last 50 or so years, and the test is the most highly respected instrument in the field.

In scoring the test Cook-Greuter (who, by the way, I know personally, and have studied with) began to notice responses that did not fit any of the stages identified by Loevinger (though these stages in many ways mirror Piaget’s levels, Loevinger was focusing on the development of one’s sense of self rather than on merely cognitive development). Eventually, after a great deal of research, Cook-Greuter compiled enough data to add two additional levels to Loevinger’s model and is now considered to be one of the world’s top experts in human development, and THE expert in the higher developmental stages.

Before discussing the postconventional stages, though, I want to give you a quick “cook’s tour” of the Loevinger levels corresponding to those we’ve already looked at. This will serve as a quick review, and will also highlight the fact that there is more to development than just the cognitive line.