Psychologist Robert Kegan To Speak on the Changing Culture of Work

Very few organizations are set up to optimize the ongoing growth and development of their people. What would a work setting look and feel like if it took account of recent breakthroughs in the understanding of adult development and the brain?

Harvard psychologist Robert Kegan and colleagues searched the country for organizations that might serve as “messengers from the future” and studied them for several years. In a Presidential Colloquium based on his prize-winning book, An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization, Kegan will offer a taste of what the researchers found.

The event, which takes place at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, in Weinstein Auditorium, is open to the public at no charge.

In An Everyone Culture, Kegan and his co-author, Lisa Laskow Lahey, examine “Deliberately Developmental Organizations”—workplaces organized around the “simple but radical conviction that organizations will best prosper when they are more deeply aligned with people’s strongest motive, which is to grow.” The authors explore how these intentionally developmental companies fashion a culture in which support of people’s development is woven into the daily fabric of working life and the company’s regular operations, daily routines and conversations.

Kegan is the William and Miriam Meehan Research Professor of Adult Learning and Professional Development at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. His 40 years of research and writing on adult development have contributed to the recognition that ongoing psychological development is at once possible and necessary to meet the demands of modern life.  

Widely cited in academic work and in the mainstream media, Kegan is author or co-author of nearly a dozen books, including The Evolving Self and In Over Our Heads, Immunity to Change and An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization.  

Kegan and his Everyone Culture co-author, Lahey, have served as invited faculty at the annual Davos Conference sponsored by the World Economic Forum, and their work has been featured in such diverse outlets as The Harvard Business Review, The New York Times and Oprah Magazine.

Kegan holds an A.B. degree, summa cum laude, from Dartmouth College and earned his Ph.D. degree from Harvard University. His bio notes that he is also “an avid poker player, an airplane pilot and the unheralded inventor of the ‘Base Average,’ a superior statistic for gauging offensive contribution in baseball.”