European society for research in adult development (ESRAD)
Symposium III, 31st May – 2nd June, 2013 - Freiberg, Germany
Adult development meets social sciences
Convenor, Organizer and Conference chair:
Scientific and organizing committee:
Adult development meets social sciences
Universities of Hagen and Freiburg, Institute for Integral Studies, Freiburg, Germany
Department of Sociology and Work Science, University of Gotenburg, Sweden
Neo-Piagetian theories of adult development have been received and used by social and political scientists in various ways during the last decades. Despite their potential to provide insights into previously neglected dimensions of social and political change, structuralist cognitive developmental approaches have still not been systematically “discovered” by many of the established social science disciplines for various reasons. While economics, management and leadership studies are quite open to developmentally informed contributions (see for example the work done by Bill Torbert, Barrett Brown, Linda Trevino and many others), political science and sociology are more reluctant to use similar perspectives, possibly due to existing academic cultures and their prevalent preferences. However, researchers like Shawn Rosenberg, Dana Ward, and Stephen Chilton have come up with theories of political development based on Piaget’s and Kohlberg’s models, some of them proposing their own models and methodologies. In sociology, Günter Dux has spent about 30 years developing, testing and refining his historic-genetic theory of culture based on extensive intercultural field work using Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. Philip Tetlock and Peter Suedfeld have used integrative complexity frameworks for proposing innovative solutions in international politics, especially in view of decision making in difficult contexts. Thomas Jordan and others have applied developmental perspectives in conflict management. Similarly, Sara Ross and Verna DeLauer have made interesting contributions to complexity analysis of deliberative processes, while Ross and Commons have used the MHC for theorizing political development. Last not least, Elke Fein has proposed several applications of developmental frameworks in different areas of political science, sociology and history, such as the study of political identities, the politics of history, and the (historical) analysis of corruption – to name only a few. All of these examples show that adult developmental approaches have to make considerable contributions to both our understanding of politics and society, namely the dimension of political culture, as well as provide a more solid and more differentiated basis for more effective and more developmentally sustainable politics. The paper will give an overview of the contributions that adult development theories have already made, or have the potential to make, in social sciences outside the psychology discipline, reviewing existing literature and discussing prospects for further research.
Postformal as the new “Normal” for the Futures of Thinking
Jennifer M. Gidley
President, World Futures Studies Federation
Professor, School for Transformative Leadership, Palacky University, Olomouc, Czech Republic
We are living in times of great transition and uncertainty. We hear the present times being referred to as chaotic, turbulent, even “postnormal.” Futurist, Zia Sardar (2010) refers to postnormal times as being characterized by “complexity, chaos and contradiction”. In this paper I ask the question: “What can we expect for the futures of thinking?” I throw light on this question by exploring the relationships between cultural history, and adult developmental psychology, through an evolution of consciousness narrative. Firstly, I will introduce the growing body of research by cultural historians, sociologists, philosophers and others on the evolution of culture and consciousness. Secondly, I will discuss the research by adult developmental psychologists on the types of reasoning that exist beyond Piaget’s “formal operations.” When these two bodies of research are integrated, they provide overwhelming evidence that suggests a new stage or structure of consciousness is currently emerging. From this perspective the chaos and turbulence that is regarded as postnormal, can be viewed from a different light. Furthermore, the types of cognitive, emotional and behavioural responses that we humans are required to develop to thrive in this new milieu are remarkably synergistic with the qualities indicative of postformal reasoning.
I draw out a number of qualities associated with postformal reasoning that are important in leading human evolution further, through conscious evolution. I propose that these postformal qualities are both adaptive, and thus increasingly “normal” for the present times, and also exactly what is required to think ourselves out of our current crises. Indeed, in terms of evolution, postformal thinking is indicative of what we can expect for the “futures of thinking.”
'Ages of man' in the history of science and modern life-span theorem in psychology - same wine in different bottles?
PhD (Psych), Adjunct professor, Finnish Institute for Educational Research, Finland
‘Ages of man’ as historical concept refers to the old concept of different phases during the human life-span (Sears, 1986). This concept has been found in various modifications in intellectual history. ‘Ages of man’ is possible, firstly, to understand connected intimately to four Aristotelic elements and qualities: earth, fire, air and water (Robbins, 1940). Another possibility is to describe life-span with seven classical planets, which were involved in pre-modern worldview (from the Moon till the final phase ruled by the Saturn) (Robbins 1940). Third possibility describes human life-span as ‘twelve ages of man’ – according to celestial-bound cycle of the Sun-based calendar (Standen, 1969). There are several other divisions of life-span, as divisions to 5 or 12 phases. The basic assumption in all these alternatives has been that human beings live in harmonic rhythm with celestial phenomena. Human’s life has its intrinsic connection to planetary and astrological rhythms and to cosmic environment (Campion, 2009a, 2009b, 2012a, 2012b; Kemp, 1990. In modern developmental psychology, concept of phases or stages in human development is of crucial importance (Anon 2013). For example, in its basic form Erikson has named different life periods, in total 8 psychosocial phases from birth to death; Freud has also made contribution to define five psychosexual developmental phases and Piaget formulated four hierarchically based stages from childhood to adulthood, and many modern theorists suggest there are even more stages, as Commons suggest 14 ones. In my presentation, I want to discuss and problematize the possible links and relations between historical and modern interpretations of life-span. I like to discuss them from the viewpoint of integrative thinking (Kallio, 2012). I propose a question if these thought systems can be understood, for example, as complementary or contradictory ones, compared to each other. In which ways they have had implicit or explicit effect to each other, and do they recognize these connections if they exist? Using some examples, I would like to demonstrate how similarities have or have been not eclectically integrated. Integration can be understood as additive or transformative (Kallio, ibid.). Transformative integrations create something new, as additive integration assimilates passively other elements into thought. The question if the concept of life-phases has radically changed to ‘something new’ in modern scientific rhetoric will also be discussed.
Leadership and Adult Development: Towards a Unified Neuro-Psycho-Economic Approach
Dr. Marc G. Lucas (Master of Psychology, MBA) 1,2, Dr. med. Dr. rer. pol. Svenja Caspers 3
1 Institute of Leadership and Organization, Department of Economics, University of Hagen, Hagen, Germany
2 Lucoco Lucas Consulting & Counseling
3 Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-1), Research Centre Jülich, Jülich, Germany
The paper first describes and summarizes basic findings of the ongoing interdisciplinary research project on differences in neural processing of individualistic vs. collectivistic oriented test persons in general as well as the subgroup of managers vs. non-managers in specific. In modification of a tachystoscopic experiment originally performed by Graves (1970) test persons had to perform abstract moral decisions within a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) setting. The obtained neurobiological data were then compared between the above mentioned extreme groups (Caspers et al, 2011; Caspers et al. 2012) and correlated with the centres of gravity within the different stages of Adult Development in value systems and meaning making of the according groups. In addition to a short description of the prior findings as well as shortcomings of the original approach, a framework model for AD-related leadership is presented (Lucas, 2012; Lucas, 2013). A new task of this paper, never reported before, will be to integrate dominant psychological trait theories (BIG-5) and AD theories on a theoretical level via a synopsis of Furnhams (1992, 1996) findings on the integration of different psychological trait theories and neuroscientific dual process theories primarily related to the importance of intuition in decision making (Kahneman, 2003, 2011; Kahneman & Tversky, 1979). A characteristic pattern of a combination of traits will be presented as a possible marker for a high System 1 activation (Kahneman). This pattern will be tested as a signifier for a concording higher development in AD as well. This theoretical approach will be validated by newly presented empirical data from the project in which the researchers combined the neuroscientific extreme group analysis described above with the application of well-established psychological tests as e.g. NEO-FFI and WUSCT. Finally findings and weaknesses of this approach as well as implications for further research and options for a longitudinal research project are being discussed.
Is this the Dawn of Postformal Leadership?
Earl de Blonville, FRGS
RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
In her latest book ‘The End of Leadership’ Professor Barbara Kellerman, Founding Executive Director of the Harvard-Kennedy School’s Centre for Public Leadership, throws down a massive challenge to the world’s multi-billion dollar MBA ‘leadership industry’. In doing so she crystallizes for many other academics and practitioners a problem that was, like the elephant in the room, too big to ignore yet too scary to confront. If Kellerman and others are right about the need for root and branch change to our current global leadership paradigm, what does this mean for an all-pervasive leadership model that now affects government, healthcare and higher education, and is there anything better we can replace it with? This paper asks: ‘Is this really the end of leadership, or is it the dawn of postformal leadership?’ As background, I will introduce three looming and unavoidable global challenges that will not only unravel our view of leadership, but also the current corporate model with its pervasive influence that may not survive beyond this decade. After briefly discussing the old paradigm leadership model that grew out of the American military industrial complex and was underpinned by radical behaviourism, I will introduce a new humanistic approach to leadership that I call “postformal leadership.” Postformal leadership draws on the 40-year-old field of US-based adult developmental psychology research on postformal reasoning. In recent years there has been a flurry of new-paradigm approaches to leadership, such as creative leadership, empathic leadership and integral leadership to name but a few. Yet, to my knowledge there has not been to date a systematic examination of the implications of the adult developmental psychology research on postformal qualities and their relationship to leadership. It is this relationship that is the primary focus of my research as presented in this paper.
Company culture, decentralization and adult development. Considerations based on a case study of a bank
Institute of Education and Didactic, Stockholm University, Sweden
School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Mälardalen University Sweden
Decentralization is one way of mastering flexibility demands in post industrial societies. It has increased the need for employees’ autonomic work performance by e.g. gaining their organizational learning. Company cultural norms, values and regulations have, in turn, been applied to direct employees´ actions towards common organizational plans and goals, by promoting their organizational integration. The aim of the paper is to elucidate how an organizational combination of decentralized autonomy and company culture integration may correspond with the employees´ development stage levels and development incitements. A competitive Swedish bank with this type of organization was investigated 2004-2010 in a multi-methodological case study in three research steps. The theoretical approach integrated lines of reasoning from action regulation-, transformative learning-and adult developmental theory. The company culture studied underlines e.g. employment security, profit sharing, high local decision possibilities and a positive conception of employees learning and developmental capability and motivation.
Documented cross sectional results indicate e.g. a) a generally widespread positive attitude to the company culture b) that most employees had reached an “expert” adult developmental stage corresponding closely to traditional bank tasks. c) differing work group interaction patterns related to differing company culture integration. Taken together these findings raises questions about utilizing developmental potentials provided by decentralization when combined with the expert way of thinking and high company culture consensus. This bring to the fore considerations about conditions hindering and gaining employees’ development related to e.g., resistance and openness to change, correspondence between developmental stage and work task complexity as well as conflicts and dynamics between contrasting organizational strivings.
Employee development using the model of hierarchical complexity (MHC): Case study
Sabina Ravničan, Univerza na Primorskem
Michael Lamport Commons
The Model of Hierarchical Complexity (MHC) offers a new strategic opportunity for a company. I did a study that showed that the MHC provides insight into the characteristics of employees for a certain position that cannot be identified by performance assessment or competence verification. The complexity of an individual's job tasks, as measured by the instruments based on the MHC, and that same individual's stage score, as measured by the MHC, predicts how successful they will be in a certain job position. Both, executive managers and middle managers performed below the stages we predicted. Results showed lower performance on two instruments, Decision making instrument (DMI) and Perspective taking instrument (PTI). Our questions were what were the biases behind not performing at the stage they should. We found that there had to be instructions to pay attention to the data not their own experience; and that all the vignettes we presented in the PTI were not equally good. During the research, we came across different problems the company is facing and our intention was to summarize key practical proposals for the company in order to improve performance of managers. Addition to that, biases during our research brought us to summarize recommendations for further research in order to avoid similar research problems in the future when using the model in the company.
Adult Development of Mediators and Psychotherapists: Implications for Professional Effectiveness
ABPP, MBA, Psychologist, Boston Medical Center
MS, JD, LLM., Community Mediator, Harvard Law School
Hierarchical Complexity Theory provides a systematic, mathematically sound approach to measuring the complexity requirements of a variety of tasks. The ability to perform tasks at increasing levels of complexity defines development within the domain of those tasks, and as such is a measure of development of the individual performing the tasks. The process of transition between stages is equally important as the stage of development.
Extending the work of others (Commons, 2002; Basseches and Mascolo, 2009,; Jordan, 2005) who have examined development in several contexts, including patients in psychotherapy, we explore development of professionals (psychotherapists and mediators), as they engage in professional activities that foster growth in others. We suggest that growth of the professional is likely to enhance the process of problem-solving and the development of clients. We provide practice-based evidence--vignettes where the professional experiences a shift in the way a problem is conceptualized. We hypothesize that earlier experiences of complex personal dilemmas laid the groundwork for these stage transitions. We view these as continuous processes in the lives of the practitioners, and hypothesize that such processes prepare them to be increasingly open to apprehending and capturing growth opportunities. We agree with Commons and others that transitioning among stages may at times be experienced as an “Aha” moment, preceded by experiences that include a series of failures or difficulties at attempts to master problems with earlier approaches. Also, consistent with Seul (1999), Stone, Patton and Heen (1999), and Kolb (1995), we posit that professionals’ developmental ability to manage complexity is reflected in the conceptualization of the clients’ problem and the perceived range of solutions; i.e., the more advanced the abilities of the professional, the more likely an outcome reflecting transformation of the perception of the problem and apprehension of more advanced solutions for patients and clients.
The dynamics of hope and motivation in groups working on complex societal issues
Department of Sociology and Work Science, University of Gotenburg
The paper is a mixed method study about how the sense of personal hope and motivation was affected by participation in a multiple-session group process on issues of public concern. Conducted with four groups, the process was designed to scaffold increased understanding of the complexity of the chosen issue. The research investigated participants' self-reported changes in their hope that it was possible to achieve positive results on the selected issue, and changes in their motivation to work to that end. The data were gathered through mixed-method interviews conducted with the individual group participants before and after their respective group’s intervention period. A facilitated structured public issue discourse process called The Integral Process for Complex Issues was used in all of the group sessions. The group sessions helped group members to navigate within the complexity of the issue, and to find some central strategies. The study indicates that the discovery of new potential pathways to manage the issue, through a more comprehensive understanding of the complexity involved, was a key factor for levels of hope and motivation. Reports from participants showed that when the participants formulated concrete actions that made sense to them, then “particularized hope” emerged, as well as continued engagement. Thus it was possible to increase levels of hope about a delimited part of the issue, while, in some cases, having less hope about the issue complex as a whole
The internal dynamics of mindfulness state: its impact on post-formal stages of development and working memory release
External Researcher of Psychophysiology Laboratory at University of Porto, Portugal
Michael Lamport Commons
Assistant Clinical Professor
Department of Psychiatry
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Harvard Medical School
The current study aims to explore the relationship between mindfulness state, defined as an attentional awareness and non-judgmental acceptance of the present moment, and post-formal stages of development in the Model of Hierarchical Complexity (MHC). There have been theories about how generalized anxiety, a factor that hinders one from performing a task, may limit the capacity of one’s working memory (Pasqual-Leone, 2004). This may consequently hinder an individual from performing at a higher developmental stage. Recent research on mindfulness training has shown that mindfulness training is associated with lower levels of generalized anxiety (Kabat-Zin, Massion, Kristeller, Peterson, Fletcher, Pbert, Lenderking & Santorelli, 1992). Based on this literature, we hypothesize that Mindfulness Training improves one’s developmental stage of performance by reducing one’s anxiety. Our methodology relied on a pre and post intervention measures. Developmental stages were determined by assessing participants’ performance on problem solving tasks. Skin Galvanic Response, Electrocortical Activity correlates and Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HARS) were administered as measures of anxiety. Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) was administered to assess the participants’ mindfulness state. The pre-test phase allowed us to create two groups composed of individuals performing at the systematic and metasystematic stages. The two groups were then separated into two further sub-groups, the experimental and the control groups. The experimental groups received an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR Program), whereas, the control group did not. After the MBSR Program, the same instruments referred above were administered as post-test measures in order to assess the efficacy of the program. Pre-test measures of both systematic and metasistematic stage groups were compared to investigate whether different developmental stages imply different levels of anxiety and mindfulness states. If our hypothesis is corroborated, the results may have implications on the role of decreased anxiety in the well-being and development of individuals. It may also emphasize the need of fostering a mindfulness state to achieve a desirable level of functioning in individuals.
Expert witness and Jungian archetypes
Harvard University, USA
Jung's theories of archetype, shadow, and the personal and collective unconscious provide a postmodern framework in which to consider the role of the expert witness in judicial proceedings. Archetypal themes, motifs, and influences help to illuminate the shadow of the judicial system and projections and behaviors among the cast of the court in pursuing justice. This article speaks to archetypal influences and dialectical tensions encountered by the expert witness in this judicial drama. The archetype of Justice is born from the human need for order and relational fairness in a world of chaos. The persona of justice is the promise of truth in the drama. The shadow of justice is untruth, the need to win by any means. The dynamics of the trickster archetype serve and promote injustice. These influences are examined by means of a case example. This approach will deepen understanding of court proceedings and the role of the expert witness in the heroic quest for justice.
Paradoxes of Measurement of Stage Development Within Educated Societies
Michael Lamport Commons Harvard Medical School
Andrew Richardson Dare Institute
Eva Li Harvard University
Sabina Ravničan Univerza na Primorskem
In educated populations, synchrony of development is found within the Inhelder and Piagetian tasks in the math/logic/physics/chemistry domain no matter what the form of the problems are. In our research, we tested whether mathematics, logic, and physical sciences form a single domain. We used linear regression models, factor analysis, and Rasch Analysis, a statistical scaling procedure used to determine the relative difficulty of items. The model was effective, illustrated by the regression of item Rasch scores compared to the hierarchical complexity of the items: r = .980, factor loading = .987 (Balance Beam); .912, factor loading = .969 (Infinity); .966 loading = .934 (Distributivity in algebra); .964 loading = .913 (Causality/laundry). With performances on problems in the social domain, however, the results were different. Participants were given the Counselor-patient (informed consent), Anti-Death Penalty, Incest - No Report and Incest-Report. Each presented five or six vignettes of arguments constructed to have different Orders of Hierarchical Complexity. Participants rated the quality of arguments on a 1 to 6 scale. The Order of Hierarchical Complexity of each vignette predicted Rasch scores, but somewhat variably depending upon the problem: Counselor-Patient r(3) = .992; Anti-Death-Penalty, r(3) = .919; Incest –No Report, r(3) = .916; Incest – Report, r(3) = .624. With these problems, in some cases the prediction of performance from the order of hierarchical complexity was similar to that seen in the physical sciences, whereas in others it was must lower. This paper will present results from our further explorations of some of the factors that are related to higher versus predictability of performance from the model. We will also present some data on the relationships between participants’ performance on different tasks.
Further papers by Michael Commons discussed:
Assessing Developmental Stages of Nonliterates using Evolutionarily Universal Variables
Commons, Tuladhar, Giri
A comparison between the SOLO taxonomy and the Model of hierarchical complexity
Department of Construction Sciences, Lund University, Sweden
Institute of gerontology, School of Health Sciences, Jönköping University, Sweden
Finnish Institute for Educational Research, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Department of Education and Adult Education, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
A desirable outcome of higher education is that students learn to solve and deal with complex problems and issues, and it should therefore be of interest to assess this ability. Rather than assessing students thinking, it is the student's learning outcome that is the focus of these types of assessments. The learning outcome could be a written exam or a presentation by the student on a certain topic, or a solution to a problem. In the following a comparison is made between two existing models to describe and assess the complexity of learning outcomes: SOLO taxonomy, which is currently advocated in the Bologna process and well established in higher educational pedagogic contexts, and the Model of Hierarchical Complexity (MHC), which is a model for describing and measuring the complexity of the structure of a certain amount of information. The models, both of which can be traced to the same Neo-Piagetian tradition of ideas, describes how the intellectual development can be measured by means of levels or stages of complexity. SOLO taxonomy consists of 5 levels of increasing complexity that are being repeated at different learning modes, which correspond to the stages of development according to Jean Piaget's developmental theory. MHC can, in turn, be seen as an expansion of the same theory with 15 stages or orders of hierarchical complexity. Both models provide a coherent picture of the development and MHC can be used to place the SOLO taxonomy into the context of developmental psychology, in which the ability to perform complex reasoning goes through 10 or so similar qualitative transformations throughout life. MHC can further clarify SOLO taxonomy's levels, how they are repeated in each learning mode and the transition that occurs between the stages.
Value system and views of ethics among nursing home and home care staff: a developmental perspective
Institute of Gerontology, School of Health Science, Jönköping University, Sweden
Void Institute, Vilhelmina, Sweden
A majority of care in nursing home and home care is performed by nurses assistants and nurses’ aides. They are closest to the older persons and are in need of ethical sensitivity and competence. But are they up to the task of handling preferences of the old persons and ethical issues? We used a newly developed value system questionnaire, which distinguish six levels of development and added questions about ethics. The questionnaire was answered by 174 nurses assistants and 38 nurses’ aides. Three distinct value systems were identified in the staff group, that we believe relate to early, middle and late conventional value systems. The majority had the least developed value system (121 persons) with low ability to differentiate among the values. The second most developed value system exhibited a higher degree of differentiation and the participants focused to a greater extent on the older persons’ needs and wishes (88 persons). The most developed value system had an ever better ability to differentiate among values (17 persons). Compared to the other value systems the participants had a more evident focus on the older persons’ participation and autonomy, furthermore ethics was not merely a matter of following rules, but rather of matter of making reasonable decisions in regards of the state of affairs of the older person. Another result was that the value system had a very high predictive validity on ethical issues compared to commonly used background variables like age, educational and years of experience. We will discuss consequences and what kind of leadership is needed in order to create a culture of quality care.
An Evolutionary-Behavioral-Developmental Theory of Stage Development
Michael Lamport Commons
Harvard Medical School
The Model of Hierarchical Complexity (MHC) measures stage of development across domains and also allows for comparison within domains. Because it explicitly allows for the separation of the task and the performance, it allows for the study of the influence of aspects of the task without confounding task with performance. The Model is to replace earlier models of development that are overly embedded in human behavior and not easily generalizable across a wide variety of species. To begin thinking about a stage model that is informed by evolution, and also can be shown to be consistent with evolutionary changes, we have asserted that almost all humans acquire at least abstract stage behavior in at least some domains, and many also acquire formal operations. This argument is based on the results of using the Model of Hierarchical Complexity to score social behaviors and tool-making in humans and other animals. In this enterprise, we have found that abstract stage tasks (Commons & Miller, 2010) such as recognizing what groups one is affiliated with and experientially devising tools for specific purposes by trying them out, are seen in the earliest human societies. Making tools that can be used for different purposes requires formal stage behavior, which again is commonly seen across virtually all human cultures. Research that finds that a certain group or a certain individual “do not” or “can not” perform at a certain stage must insure that they have given that group or individual their best chance to do well on the problem being presented. As we know the history of stage and other cognition research is full of examples of claims and counter-claims as to what the competencies are at different ages/stages. While it is clear that one can vary a task and get different results, there is no theory of tasks that might help clarify the competing results. We propose that the Model of Hierarchical Complexity could present such a theory of tasks, at least one that could explain stage-like behavior across all organisms, from single-celled on up.
Stage is determined by universal, evolutionary tasks of different orders of hierarchical complexity allowing for cultural free assessment
School Adjustment Counselor, Garfield Middle School, USA
Michael Lamport Commons
Harvard Medical School, USA
To what groups an organism belongs changes with stage. We developed a sequence for what it means to belong to groups. At the concrete stage, organism know what face to face groups they belong to. This can have memberships of up to around a hundred. Below the concrete stage, this number is much more limited. That does not mean that animals do not form large herds. Only in humans, do organism recognize other member of groups not just on face to face experience. They may use marking such as dress style, make-up, cultural practice, language, etc. All of these differences represent values of variable. They form alliance to or against various groups. Depending on the setting, they may belong to different groups. There is the possibility of political party membership, social club membership and organizational membership. When meeting someone who one has never met, it is usually possible to ascertain whether or not they belong to a group the person is a member of. At the formal stage, membership is more formal. Members have duties. Depending on the to groups, membership is earned or conferred by following logical rules. The roles of members versus non-members are well defined. There are privilege that are also well defined. At the systematic stage, one may become a membership of a profession. A profession is defined as a group that exercise judgment based on consideration of more than one variable. It because important to work for the good of the group. At the metasystematic, one sees groups in context. One becomes a member of humanity. We assess membership by asking open ended questions about what groups they belong to and how they know who are members, etc.
Cognition, cultural practices and institutions – an adult developmental perspective on corruption in Russian history
Universities of Hagen and Freiburg, Institute for Integral Studies, Freiburg, Germany
Despite several important regime changes over the past 100 years, Russia has been and still is known for relatively high rates of corruption. Based on a meta-theoretical framework for analyzing phenomena of corruption, discourses on corruption (and anti-corruption), and action taken against corruption which has been outlined elsewhere (Fein & Weibler, 2012), the paper proposes empirical illustrations of a culture-free, developmentally based theory of corruption taken from different periods of Russian history. At the same time, it also addresses the “cultural argument” by discussing to what extent contextual, i.e. historical and cultural factors either support or don’t support cognitive and cultural development and thus contribute to shape values, patterns of thinking and social (inter-)action, as well as social and political institutions in a particular historical setting. For all of those are considered relevant for explaining both the emergence of “corrupt” phenomena, particular attitudes towards these phenomena and ways of dealing with them in different historical, social and cultural contexts. It is argued that increasing complexity of cognitive and cultural patterns within a society leads to higher individual and collective (self-) reflexivity, as well as to more complex institutions. These theoretical claims are informed and illustrated by empirical examples from three different periods of Russian history. The paper thus makes both theoretical and empirical contributions to the analysis of corruption, proposing a developmentally informed longitudinal analysis of concrete cognitive, cultural and institutional dimensions of corrupt and of anti-corruption practices.
Concerning the Complexities of Political Opinion
Dept of Sociology, Lund University, Sweden
This paper is an attempt at deriving social theory from the use of the Model of Hierarchical Complexity (MHC). The justification for using an empirically based theory like MHC for pure theorizing is that theorizing is a necessary part of the advancement of science, albeit a more approximating and preliminary part than empirical research. The subject theorized is “the emergence of political opinion in transpersonal space”, the transpersonal space being not the individual, nor the structure, nor the interpersonal dynamics – but the intersection of all these three categories. A five-dimensional model is proposed, fusing five different paradigms for explaining political opinion. These dimensions are ordered from the most superficial to the most fundamental, where the most fundamental ones set the developmental limits for opinion, while the more superficial ones are dependent on these developmental limits. These dimensions or “orders of causation” are 1st order: Opinion as identity cost-benefit calculation, 2nd order: Opinion as (perceived) interest, 3rd order: Opinion as perspective from a social position, 4th order: Opinion as ideology (ontological horizon), 5th order: Opinion as cognitive ability (stage of development). These orders are explored and their interrelations are tentatively theorized.
Political Capacity Building in Egypt through Adult Development Models
Adrian Wagner, Freiburg, Germany
In September 2012, twenty young potential leaders from Egypt and Germany with a vast variety of backgrounds met for the Yalla Training in Berlin. The Humbolt-Viadrina School of Governance hosted the 5-day training. The goal of the training was to support young leaders by introducing them to cultural communication, systemic thinking and the Spiral Dynamics Integral (SDI) model developed by Dr. Don Beck and Christopher Cowen. This model is based on the adult developmental research by Dr. Clare Graves. In January, the group met again in Cairo for a participatory action research project. This time, five small binational teams were formed to apply their theoretical knowledge on a concrete challenge within different Egyptian organizations. My paper analyzes an intervention at the Egyptian Democratic Academy (EDA) conducted by one of those teams. The paper explains how EDA’s main challenge could be identified through Graves’ theory and how the SDI model was helpful for EDA’s staff members. The research questions treated in this paper are: How can members of political organizations (with special regard to the Arab Spring) be supported in concrete situations by using adult development models like SDI? What are the key learning objectives within a post-revolutionary country like Egypt based on adult developmental models? What might be limits and challenges of developmental models viewed from a postcolonial perspective?
Does Performance of Graduate Counseling Students on the Counselor-Patient Instrument Predict Grades and other Program-Success Indicators?
Patrice Marie Miller
Salem State University, USA
The study is a follow up to a study that was begun in Spring, 2011. In the earlier study, we scored admissions essays from graduate students in the M.S. Program in Counseling and Psychological Services using the Hierarchical Complexity Scoring Scheme based on the Model of Hierarchical Complexity. Results from that study were that participants’ responses had a Mean Stage of 9.76 (.27), transitional to formal, and a Median of 10 (Formal stage). In any essay there were found to be statements as low as concrete stage (8) and as high as metasystematic (12). The median of the highest stages across participants was systematic (11). The main issue with this earlier study is that we were able to score only 14 essays over the course of one semester. Examining student outcomes, such as grades, in such a small sample was problematic. In the research to be presented here, we instead used a previously studied counselor-patient instrument, to assess the stage of reasoning of a second sample of Counseling graduate students. The instrument presents vignettes that have been designed to represent the five orders of complexity that are being scored in the essays. It can be filled out relatively quickly, and results in “stage” scores for each individual that indicate whether their likely reasoning stage is concrete, abstract, formal, systematic or metasystematic. During the first semester of data collection, 27 students completed the instrument. With a sample size that is expected to be double that in size, we will examine the relationships between student stages and their grades in the graduate counseling program. Should the instrument predict grades well, this will establish a degree of predictive validity for the counselor-patient instrument.
Adult development research meets university admissions: Finnish university applicants' critical thinking skills in relation to admission criteria
Jukka Utriainen, Miika Marttunen, Eeva Kallio & Päivi Tynjälä
University of Jyväskylä, Finland
To educate students to think scientifically and critically is a universal goal for university education. Hence, universities should select students who have the best potential to develop expertise in scientific and critical thinking. However, the relationship between applicants’ critical thinking skills and universities’ admission criteria is a rarely studied topic, as research on student selection has mainly focused on testing if admission criteria predict academic achievement. The aim of this research is to explore the level of university applicants’ critical thinking skills and clarify the associations between those skills and commonly used admission criteria in Finnish universities (ie. matriculation examination grades and entrance examination scores). The participants of the study were applicants for a Faculty of Education in one Finnish university. The applicants’ critical thinking skills were measured in an online learning environment by using two open-ended source-based essay writing tasks. The used source texts were three shortened articles which discussed class size effects on teaching and learning. Information on the class size effects was partially contradictory in the different articles. The applicants’ critical thinking skills were evaluated by applying a modified version of Steps for Better Thinking assessment model (Wolcott 2006). Variables comparison skill and quality of reasons were used to measure critical thinking skills. The participants’ entrance examination scores and matriculation examination grades were used as such. Results indicated that entrance examination scores were slightly associated with the quality of the participants’ comparison skills. However, both matriculation exam grades and entrance examination scores were moderately associated with the quality of reasons that participants put forward to support their own position to the issue that was included in the task. It can be concluded that currently used entrance examinations or matriculation examinations do not evaluate the ability to critically compare contradictory information. Thus, it would be important to develop an entrance examination that explicitly evaluates Finnish educational science applicants’ critical thinking skills.
Development of emerging adults in higher education: a qualitative approach to students´ narratives
G. Nogueiras1, A. Iborra2
1 Graduate student. University of Alcalá, Spain
2 Lecturer. University of Alcalá, Spain
Our research takes into consideration the premise that learning and development are intertwined processes (King & Baxter Magolda, 1996; Baxter Magolda, 2000, 2004) and is located theoretically and practically within a constructivist epistemology (Bruner, 1990; Piaget, 1975; Rogoff, 1997; Vygotsky, 1979), coherent with the role that the nowadays educational model gives the student. In this context, we provided collaborative and experiential learning settings that were aimed to foster students´ development and promote a self-directed learning in the field of Developmental Psychology in higher education. To monitor and encourage the process of exploration and reflection of the students we suggested the creation of a personal blog and the elaboration of a final self-assessment task. Both narratives, those included in the blogs and in the self-assessment task, were analyzed through a categorical content analysis with Atlas.ti in order to follow the students´ trajectory during the subject.
The emerged model reveals that the generation of little structured situations that entailed a conflict for the students and the suggestion of qualitatively different ways of approaching reality, as exploration, doubt, formulation of questions, adoption of different perspectives or reasoned decision making (Perry, 1970; Rapaport, 2006) sought to facilitate the transition of the students towards a qualitatively more complex orders of consciousness (Kegan, 1994) and the emergence of self-directed learners (Grow, 1991). In line with recent publications (Baxter Magolda, 2000, 2004; Drago-Severson & Pinto 2004; Iborra et al., 2009; Kegan, 1994, 2000; Kroger, 2004) we consider that providing learning contexts as those we describe can contribute to develop competences that help people to navigate autonomously in an increasingly complex and changing reality.