Individuals at stage 2 have mastered their impulses, to which they are subject at stage 1. This is an important achievement, in that it allows for the ability to play social roles, delay gratification, follow rules, construct a stable (less impulsive) sense of self, take responsibility for their actions, and engage in social relationships with others. Stage 2 individuals are able to take multiple perspectives, but do so one at a time. Stage 2 individuals are able to take another’s point of view and understand that others have differing perspectives and agendas; however, stage 2 individuals tend to view others in terms of the implications for their own agenda. Consequently, their social relationships are characterized by social exchange and reciprocity; they understand relationships with others in terms of how they will help the stage 2 person meet his or her needs. Leaders at stage 2 focus on following the rules as the rules help them meet their own agendas. Their concern is on goal accomplishment, and they understand rewards and punishments as the way to influence human behavior. They want to know what they have to do to get ahead and how that will help them meet their personal goals.
STAGE 3 : THE INTERPERSONAL SELF
(variable if achieved)
Order of Mind
>+/-40, if achieved
Stage 3 individuals can hold multiple perspectives simultaneously; they structure their understanding of themselves and others in terms of inner qualities. How others view them becomes part of how they view themselves; the self is co-constructed with the perceptions of others. This achievement permits relationships to be grounded on mutuality rather than reciprocity, which creates a sense of interpersonal identification that fosters teamwork and membership in something bigger than one’s self. Reputation matters to individuals at stage 3; they view their success less in terms of what they do than in terms of how they fulfill the expectations of others. Leaders at stage 3 are concerned with teamwork and group success. They internalize the values of the group or organization in a way that the shared values define them.
(+/- 6 years through adolescence)
What can be seen
STAGE 4 : THE SELF-AUTHORED SELF
one’s impulses, perceptions
(what one knows)
Stage 4 individuals reconstruct their understanding of the self in terms of a self-authored system of values and standards. Rather than being subject to the shared social and interpersonal identifications, they are able to take a perspective on the shared identifications and structure their self-identities in terms of personalized values and standards. The sense of internalized values has a different meaning at stage 4 than at stage 3. At stage 4, individuals are able to assess external expectations and organize them in more personalized and complex ways. It is really only at stage 4 that a sense of psychological autonomy and self-authorship emerges. Leaders at stage 4 follow an internal compass; they own their values and center their leadership in terms of internal standards.
What one is subject to
Kegan Postulates six developmental stages.
Click the info button on stages 2, 3, or 4 to learn more about the stage.