Dialogue: Integral Theory into Integral Action: Part 7

Mark Edwards and Russ Volckmann

Mark Edwards

Russ VolckmannIn the Part 6 of this dialogue, Mark laid out an elegant way of mapping and thinking about 1st 2nd and 3rd person at micro, meso and macro levels, as well as the mediating factors in the relationships among these. My discovery is that the track we are on is leading to the necessity for an Integral Mapping Atlas in developing an integral approach to leadership. This is challenging for those of us who appreciated the simple Wilberian AQAL map as a guide, as a template for a map.

One of the complicating factors addresses the challenge by introducing the notion of time. Wilber’s approach is compatible with that and Mark has discussed addressing both space and time in our mapping. In addition there is a way to approach mapping mediating variables.

On the other hand, I was surprised by Mark’s introduction of a four-cell matrix based on internal-external and agency-communion. Applying this to leadership hits considerable pay dirt for seeing the relationships among different theoretical approaches to leadership and identifying corresponding blind spots.

To reopen the dialogue,


Russ: In reviewing what we accomplished in Part 6, I believe we have come a long, long way. We have agreed upon a nine-cell matrix, which, by the way, I would like to expand to fifteen cells in looking at leadership in organizations. I will come back to that. We have also agreed on the importance of mediating variables, widely defined, for individuals and collectives in a full range of relationships. Finally, I think we agree that our approach is one that moves away from a reductionist notion of leadership as top-down to one that is multi-directional in any human system. I am sure our conversation can be mined for other areas of discussion and agreement, but those are the highlights for me.

The fifteen-cell matrix: Here is a matrix you offered in the last installment (renumbered for this installment.)

Figure 7.1: Holonic
This works on the three levels, individual, group and organization. It does not represent the context of the organization, although it does suggest the potential in extra-organizational perspectives in Macro 3. I wonder if it would be useful to point out that there are additional levels that could be usefully added. This could include the culture and society the organization is a part of, as well as a larger regional and/or worldwide community of nation states—a hierarchy suggested by the structural variables of micro, meso and macro. These are important for looking at competition, collaboration, globalization and valuing of the organization and its leadership.

Figure 7.2: Metatheoretical Framework
I think we have the elements of a map at this point to apply the approach to looking at a particular case of leadership or a particular leadership theory. In addition to your comments on the above, I wonder how Figure 7.3 might assist our conversation further.

Figure 7.3

Figure 7.3: Agency-Communion Quadrant Labels

Figure 7.4 adds the developmental stages you discussed. Of course, any stage model of development could be applied to this.

Figure 7.4


And Figure 7.5 elaborates the approach.


Visionary Leaders


Activist Leaders









Post- normative Visionary prophet focused on transformational goal, e.g. M. L. King Jr., Visionary prophet focused on communal transformation e.g. Aung San Suu Kyi Activist prophet focused on transformational goal, e.g. Moses, Thomas Clarkson Activist prophet focused on communal transformation, e.g. Gandhi
Normative Visionary leader focused on specific goals, e.g. Gough Whitlam, Tony Blair Visionary leader focused on communal reform, e.g. Bob Hawk, F. D. Roosevelt Activist leader focused on specific goals, e.g. Al Gore, Margaret Thatcher Activist leader focused on communal reform, e.g. Bob Brown, Ralph Nader
Pre-normative Visionary fascist dictator focused on specific (pre-normative) goals, e.g. Adolf Hitler, Visionary communist dictator focused on communal power, e.g. Lenin, Mao Activist fascist dictator focused on specific (pre-normative) goals, e.g. Franco, Pinochet Activist communist dictator focused on communal power, e.g. Pol Pot, Kim Il-sung

Figure 7.5: Integral Indexing

Okay, sorry for repeating all of this, but I hope it makes it more convenient for the reader.

One of the things I am trying to do with the interviews that I am doing for Integral Leadership Review and other publications is to bring to bear an integral perspective in the choice of questions and follow-up. It is easy to ask about the internal experience or theory, the behaviors, organizational culture and practice in the AQAL model of Wilber. It is also easy to talk about lines of development and stage theories. I will have to experiment on using something like the approaches that are so elegantly suggested by your work. But the reason that I bring it up at all is that it makes it possible to look at the perspective that is being explored (or ignored) in the interview. I find myself asking questions that would be as relevant in doing research on leadership as it would be on exploring the implications of one’s own leadership models and practices.

Just look at Figure 7.5. This, alone, suggests twelve lines of questioning and we haven’t included the distinctions of micro, meso and macro (although they are suggested here in the interiors/exteriors of different types of leaders. In turn, it suggests twelve ways of sorting leadership theories regarding what they attend to and where their blind spots are.

Now, what happens if we take a cue from Don Beck who talks about Spiral Dynamics and the idea that the spiral is within? By implication the spiral is within the individual, the team, the organization and so on. Now apply this to Figure 7.5 when looking at anyone who fills a leadership role for however limited a period of time. I would suggest that all of these quadrants are within each individual and within each micro, meso and macro context. The chart may be a bit misleading in that it suggests individuals fall neatly into these categories when it is very likely that the individual leaders can be seen in all cells of the matrix.

And wouldn’t that take us to lines of development through the stages? One might ask, “What lines of development are relevant to leadership?” I would suggest that the easy answer is that, potentially, all are. Which lines “light up” in a context for a particular individual filling a leader role, however, depends on the context. Leadership failures might be looked at through the capacity of individuals and systems under the conditions demanded in a context. Boy, does that sound convoluted. I better stop here and see what you have in mind.

Well, Mark, so much for memory lane and what it brings up for me. How do you hold the levels of complexity suggested by my explorations here? I look forward to your comments.

Mark: You are right Russ. These are all ideal types and the reality is messier (and more beautifully intricate) than we can imagine, let alone depict with this type of integral indexing. Yes, there are many lines of questioning that could be explored using these frameworks. To my mind, the key thing is that there will be leaders and leadership theories that will see the world in terms of certain elements of these lenses and they will shape their world accordingly. There is an inherent partiality in how we see things and at the same time a desire for emancipation. These metatheoretical systems help us to identify where we are being partial and the direction we might move in to achieve emancipation, that is, to achieve greater freedom and greater fullness in our lives, our families and in our communities. Organizations are really about emancipation—they are relatively enduring social gatherings for delivering those things that we think will make us happy. One of the main uses of these metatheoretical frameworks—as Paul Colomy points out (see Colomy, 1991) is that they can critically assess the state of health and pathology or, at least, balance, of our worldviews and actions and those of organizations and leaders.

I was delighted to see that you wanted to extend figure 7.2 and that you asked me to add two further ecological levels. So I’ve extended the ecological levels to include i) the interorganizational environment of industry and organizational networks and all those relationship between an organization and its external stakeholders and ii) the societal and global macro level of extended organizational relations with natural, socio-cultural, political and international environments and with global spheres of interaction.

The implications and impacts of organizational activity obviously extend way beyond the organization and its immediate links with its employees. It moves into each of these broader ecological levels (I am using ecological here in the sense of any interaction with any type of—geological, biological and socio-cultural). In a globalized economy we might try to avoid these, but we can’t escape and shouldn’t ignore these relationships. That’s why this ecological holarchy lens is so crucial. This is also why we should not simply depend on the developmental holarchy lens used in models like Spiral Dynamics to guide our relationships with environmental problems. Using the developmental lens is crucial for transformation but relying on it to the exclusion of the ecological lens will end in a very distorted vision of how we see ourselves in a global context.

Deep ecologists have long lamented the placement of the human at the top of developmental pyramid. They call this anthropocentrism. Deep ecologists use the ecological holarchy lens to show us that we are merely parts/members of an intricate ecological web where the global ecology of the biosphere is the most complex and most inclusive level—not the human. Unfortunately, the deep ecologists don’t have much of an idea of the developmental holarchy lens so they undervalue the role of human transformation in environmental discussion. And in precisely the same way, developmentalists (and I include AQAL-informed integral theorists in here) unfortunately undervalue or don’t even recognize the ecological holarchy. So they see transformation as the big game. They often attack those who focus on nature-centrism and on the primacy of global biospheres and (dare I say it) Gaia. We need both lenses and forms of holarchy to understand the complex relationships between developmental levels and ecological levels. That’s why metatheoretical systems like the ones we are discussing are so crucial.

I’ve also brought Figures 7.3, 7.4/5 into our main framework by including the developmental holarchy and agency-communion lenses into Figure 7.2. So we have altogether the lenses of the developmental and ecological holarchies, perspectives, agency communion, interior-exterior and the social mediation. (At some point here I’ll also need to bring in the governance holarchy lens, but I think I’m pushing it already). This metaframework can be used to explore the leadership relationships between any aspects of these lenses. For example, how does leadership show itself at the emotional level in second-person relationships within a team/group context? How might those emotions mediate decision making in those contexts? Using our map we can zero in on that relationship and check out the literature relevant to those lenses, explore the relationships in terms of transformational or therapeutic potential, look at imbalances in those relationships, etc.

The thing is that this framework opens up the possibility of seeing things that might previously have been hidden or simply overlooked both in terms of theory and in terms of real organizational life. Metatheory (which is what all this is) is a way of finding patterns between theories, in formal scientific theory, informal personal theory and the grounded forms of explanation that we (and leader-followers) use in everyday life.

Russ: One of the strengths of Spiral Dynamics as a developmental model, it seems to me, is its attending to the relationship between what “lights up” from various stages and what the life conditions are that stimulate that event or experience. I agree that many other psychological development models do not clearly make such a connection. Nevertheless, another example of one that does is William Perry’s nine-stage model of development, which in part relates levels to stages in the development of cognitive complexity and autonomy (That is how I interpret it). At least, his research includes context since it was mostly about college students and changes during a four-year college career.

A question for us at this point is, given our agreement about quadrants, holons and stages that we are examining in relationship to mapping leaders, follower/collaborator/constituents, 1st 2nd and 3rd person perspectives, levels of complexity or scope (micro, meso, etc.) and the importance of mediators, where do we go from here? It seems to me there are several options.

First, Wilber focuses on quadrants, stages, states, lines and styles. We have focused on quadrants and a bit on stages while bringing up the subject of lines without really attending to it. I wonder if you see anything here that would be important for us to explore if we are going to suggest that we are making a contribution to mapping leadership practice, development and theory.

Second, I would like us to ground our work in this series by taking a look at some specific leadership event and/or theories and/or development strategies to show how the approach works. What does it demonstrate? What are its blind spots? In other words, can we bring some complex mapping and theoretical ideas down to the level of the leader and his context(s)? I have been suggesting for some time that this is hard work that someone needs to do in order for an integral approach to leadership to be comprehended. This is a significant undertaking on a broad scale. I would love to see graduate students do dissertations on this. I am not suggesting we do that. After all, you are just finishing one dissertation and we should give you a little breathing room before you start on another!

Steve March did a presentation at a Spiral Dynamics Confab several years ago in which he attempted a very high level mapping using Wilber’s highest-level map of stages (1995, inside cover). This effort needs much more detailed work and using the mapping tools in our conversation would add considerable richness.

Third—and I think this is important—we may need to go into the “quadrants” of the holons a bit more deeply. It is easy to label these contents as culture and systems, for example, but what constitutes how we understand those and other variables? Also, by introducing the possibility of multiple factors to map to, what have we introduced in terms of contents of the quadrants within the cells? Internal/external and agentic/communal constitute one set. What about the others? Would you be willing to kick us off on comparing the different types of matrices generated by some of the factors you have identified? Then we would be able to ask which of these are the most critical or interesting when looking at the leader role and the phenomenon of leadership and its development. That sounds to me like a very solid next step.

Finally, for now, what about the stages you are using. Clearly there are several approaches available to us. In Figure 7.4 you use pre-normative, normative and post-normative. How about we talk about those in terms of leaders and leadership phenomena that attend to all of the cells? That would be a fairly straightforward model for applying the mapping.

Mark: Yes Russ, Spiral Dynamics is a very sophisticated model of development and includes several lenses that are important for analyzing life circumstances and social environments. I find that Chris Cowan has a particularly nuanced reading of how these lenses interact with the developmental holarchy of deep structure v-Memes. But I still think that Spiral Dynamics has some way to go before it fully appreciates the creative role of environmental levels of development. For example, the letter codes that designate particular levels are made up of two elements—one denotes the mindset or v-Meme base of the particular person or group and the other denotes the level of environmental challenge that is being faced. Obviously, these two elements are independent of each other (in that what my values are is not necessarily those that dominate in my environment) yet in Spiral Dynamics they are always represented together. One outcome of this tying together of inner and outer association is the lack of recognition of the power of social mediation between internal and external environments. But all vertical developmental models face this trap and Spiral Dynamics is not immune from focusing on internal structures and neglecting the mediating role of external structures. The strength of SD is that it offers a very sophisticated and nuanced means for understanding, explaining and analyzing vertical development.

In our discussion so far I would make the following summary points:

i) We have identified several lenses that have not been included within the AQAL framework to this point. These include the mediation lens, the governance or organizing lens, a more complete description of the ecological holarchy lens and the internal-external lens. We can add these to the set of 6 elements that are formally included within AQAL, that is, quadrants (which actually includes elements or lenses—individual-collective and interior-exterior), levels (developmental Holarchy lens), lines (the streams lens), states (states of consciousness lens), types (types or styles lens). There are several other elements that are not formally included within the six elements but nonetheless play significant role in AQAL-informed analyses. These include perspectives (perspectival lens), the “drives of agency-communion (agency – communion lens), the transformation-translation lens, relational exchange and the form of development (transition process lens).

ii) We have shown that this more defined broader range of lenses can be used in a much more flexible way than as previously considered by integral theorists. For example, the lenses that we have discussed can be combined in many different ways to form new typologies, frameworks and explanatory systems at the intra-holonic, inter-holonic and holonic-system orders of description.

iii) Through combining a broader range of lenses we have developed frameworks that can accommodate theoretical insights in a more detailed and nuanced fashion. For example with the inclusion of the social mediation lens we can accommodate explanations of development that do not rely on the unfolding of interior stages, but which recognize sociogenetic sources of transformation.

iv) We have also ventured into an integral approach to power, which has been a topic that has been clearly neglected in AQAL-informed discussions and analyses to this point.

v) Finally, we have set all this within a metatheorising context that relies on a collaborative approach to metatheory building. In this integral metatheorising (that is, metatheory building that uses AQAL as a metaparadigmatic resource and not as a ready made framework for applying to some topic) performance of a mediating role allows for flexibility, ongoing critique and renewal, and the growth of a community of inquiry whose focus is in publicly developing liberating and emancipating disciplines (as Torbert puts it) in all spheres of life for anyone who has the time, interest and desire to contribute.

Russ: This is a very helpful summary, Mark. It certainly lays out a number of explorations that we can follow to clearly illustrate their application. By the time I finish these comments, I will propose a path that we can begin working on for the March 2008 issue. Since the January 2008 issue is a special issue on the Netherlands, we will take a break and give our readers a bit of one, too. The danger in this is that after five months the world will be in such a different place that it might be difficult to get back on track, but if we work consistently over these months we can take our readers along for our journey.

I understand your reading of the relationship between one’s own vMeme set and the environment being one of correspondence to “dominant” environmental vMeme sets. If someone is promoting that idea, I think it falls on three counts and here is my reasoning. I have no research base to back this up, so maybe you can help out with that; this approach is based on my own intuitive notions around learning, development and relationship with the environment. Thus, this may be more of a statement of where I am in my own development, than a representation of what is “real.”

First, I would suggest that there is a complex set of vMemes in our environment(s) during our lives that stimulate our own memetic resonance and responses. I think I can connect most of the significant values I have to environments in my life experience, ranging from respect for others and valuing differences (which I learned at my mother’s knee) to valuing learning about self and various other topics, values re-enforced (and challenged) at many points along the way in my own life journey. Similarly, wouldn’t it be comparable to suggest that my own valuing of reason and logic over religiosity and spirituality was also encouraged in that way. I would not suggest that these are the dominant memetic streams in the larger culture in which I was raised, but they were present in my own life experience. So, unless I am really missing something here, I can find environmental antecedents to all of the values I hold.

I particularly like this approach to the relationship between our memetic complexes and our experienced environments in that it helps us move away from metastereotypes and causes us to look at a deeper level of detail. I am reminded of Mark J. Penn’s work on micro trends, which he sees in keeping with complexity theory, as having high potential for being major forces for changes in society. He is the guy who came up with the term “Soccer Moms” in relation to Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign, although I am not sure I can make a case for the relevance of that for this discussion. And speaking of complexity theory, I look forward to learning more about the relationship between quantum, chaos and complexity theories (including string theory) and integral theory. I hope Barbara Mossberg or some others are writing a book about this in relation to leadership [See Mossberg’s article in this issue of ILR].

Okay, back on track. The second count has to do with the material world, the genetic energy within each of us and how it resonates differently, even to the same stimuli. Leadership theory (among others) struggles with the task of prediction and the task of description. Given the complexity and unpredictability of variables, perhaps prediction (and prescription) is the trap that perpetuates so much energy being put into identifying qualities and behaviors that lead to success. Even here we are confounded because we have such lack of clarity about what constitutes success. We often are forced to choose between self-serving grasping for power and control, on the one hand, and high ideals like the good, the true and the beautiful that Wilber commends us to attend and that Steve McIntosh has recently written so clearly about, on the other.

The third has to do with the chaos of catalysts, mediating factors. Here is one of the factors that make our sojourn into integral mapmaking so challenging: we have gone from a simple snapshot map and taken on the invitation to make the movie. The mediating factors infuse the movie with energy, despite the fact that we can dissect it, one frame at a time. Furthermore, the implication for the individual and the event is that who is going to show up and how is unpredictable. At best we are operating in a world of probabilities. And that pertains specifically to the relationship between vMemes and environment. We cannot predict what will show up for the individual; we can only suggest the probabilities.

This is one reason that I am convinced that one of the most valuable leadership development methodologies is in the use of scenarios, not just by the individual, but by their organization (other individuals, as well). We don’t know who will take on the leader role under circumstances of unpredictability. Therefore, rather than focus on scenarios as a form of strategic planning, it is an approach that develops individuals and systems for engaging with ambiguity and the unexpected. It is tapping into this kind of energy that I find exciting about the implications of our work and that of so many others in the field of integral. We are making a movie while being both actors and audience, both producers and crew.

This brings me to your summary and the range of variables that you suggest in the lenses. Allow me to recap from your comments:

  • Quadrants (which actually includes elements or lenses – individual-collective and interior-exterior),
  • Levels (developmental Holarchy lens),
  • Lines (the streams lens),
  • States (states of consciousness lens), types (types or styles lens).
  • Perspectives (perspectival lens),
  • The “drives of agency-communion (agency – communion lens),
  • The transformation-translation lens,
  • Relational exchange and the form of development (transition process lens).

I would like to propose that we treat each of these in relation to leadership. Key questions would be:

(1) What does each mean? I intend this to go beyond the idea of definition to include how does it fit with all the rest to generate insight and understanding.

(2) How does each relate to a way of making the leadership movie? What are the elements we need to attend to and how do we integrate them with the other elements?

An image is coming to my mind. It is a sphere without the skin and with equal intersecting lines. I suppose the shape is variable, depending on what is happening with the lines, each of which represents one of the eight factors listed above. Two dimensionally, it would look something like this:

Figure 7.5:

Figure 7.5: Variables in Unfolding Leadership

Now this doesn’t really convey the image in my mind. What if these were spokes within a sphere? No circle around them, no spherical surface. Perhaps a variable surface, depending on what is going on in each line. Remember those toys that were like little soft rubber porcupines? Like that! I don’t know. Maybe this is just silly babble. But I want a way to begin to see all of these variables together. Mark, your graphic imagination is so rich, perhaps you can come up with a better alternative. One concern about this approach is that it suggests we are comparing apples and oranges. We could develop matrices looking at streams in relation to types, developmental holarchy in relation to states of consciousness, and so on. In the end I may be producing nothing but fruit salad and that is where the mapping challenge is. Without something like this we end up with separate but not equal maps in our Atlas. How do we integrate them?

Setting that aside for the moment, I am going to take a stab at some of these variables in relation to leadership. Some I am sure will have to await your clarifications. This is food for thought, intended to encourage a deeper, more effective way of approaching these and is not intended to be definitive.

(1) Quadrants (including elements or lenses—individual-collective and interior-exterior):

It seems to me that in the early stages of our conversation, this is where I wanted to go. Here we find a close relationship to Wilber‘s approach, as I understand it. This is the focus of my early work on leadership as found in the pages of early archived issues of Integral Leadership Reviewand A Leadership Opportunity. It is a quite convenient approach that offers a great deal of potential insight into comprehending leadership events. It is simple to understand as a holon and as a holarchy. It suggests the potential in examining the relationships among the quadrants, as well as their contents.

Readers can go to the sources or to the early installments of this conversation for more information about this map. And in Installment 6 of this conversation it is revisited from the point of view of the relationships between the quadrants when time as a variable is introduced.

This model continues to be vital in the sense that the use of quadrants can facilitate understanding about other variables, not just individual-collective and interior-exterior, as lenses with which to examine any event (and process over time). In the expanded matrix (Figure 7.2) you are laying out the relationship between person (1-2-3) and level of analysis or context. Figure 7.3 there is a comparison of agency-communion and interior-exterior. This produces a four-cell matrix. When applied to a leadership event, we can examine any individual or collective through this lens. What was intended (Agentic vision) to further the aspirations of the individual? What was done (Agentic behavior) to enhance the position of the individual? What was the cumulative intention of the collective (Communal vision) on behalf of the collective? What was the cumulative behavior of the collective (Communal behavior).

These questions could be posed for any event in which leadership was demonstrated. For example, a project manager for a high tech project had career ambitions and presented himself to his team, not only as someone who was in charge and in control, but he inspired their behavior for the ends of the project through the use of community building recognition and by emphasizing the importance of a successful project for the benefit of the company and the nation (This was before downsizing shattered so much company loyalty in the US). His personal intentions and vision included a successful project, but it also included the fulfillment of his corporate ambitions (Agentic vision). His behavior was designed to show his competence as a leader, as well as a manager. With his team he held a goal (Communal vision) for meeting national needs through company success. They collectively engaged in systems designed to make their efforts successful. This same analysis could be conducted from the point of view of the team member or from the point of view of the individual in relation to the company, and so on.

I would imagine similar matrices could be examined such as transformation-translation. I need to know more about what you have in mind with this one. So, with regard to the quadrants a question we may wish to consider would be, what matrices would be useful to the exploration and study of leadership? What is the utility of each, that is, what kinds of insights will each provide and how can it be used to develop and prepare leaders, particularly for the challenges of rapid change and complexity?

(2) Levels (developmental Holarchy lens)

Here is where developmental psychology comes in. And we mustn’t forget that it also involves system development or the development of collectives. Stage theories are a central focus in integral theory, whether Gebser, Cook-Greuter’s Loevinger-based model, Kegan, Perry, or Graves (Spiral Dynamics). The closest we have for systems is life-cycle models such as that by Adizes. Wilber’s Great Chain of Being offers a very high level look at the quadrants through a stage model of development. I am still trying to figure out what is the principle for holonic development that his approach is based on. I am sure you, Mark, have a lot to offer on that.

In any case, this is an aspect of the work that has libraries written about it. Not only are we concerned with stages and evolution, but learning, systems development, complexity, etc. Our task for leadership is to examine existing work on leadership, identify what is edifying for comprehending leadership and select what is most useful in these diverse approaches. Here we are looking at such questions as: What is the developmental level of a leader? A follower/collaborator/contributor? How do those at different levels engage? How do we develop from one level to another? What is the nature of recidivism and anomie in relation to stages of development? Well, as I said, there are libraries…

(3) Lines (the streams lens)

Not only are the lines (streams) about ideas like multiple intelligences, spirituality, physical (health) development and the like, but also these are at the heart of Wilber’s work and that of the Integral Institute in the area of Integral Life Practice. In addition, there is a bit of literature about this in relation to leadership. Ron Riggio and others’ work on emotional intelligence and leadership and Cindy Wigglesworth’s work on leadership and spirituality are just examples of this focus.

Then there is the whole question of the relationships among lines and developmental processes. This is where the metaphor of streams is so much more useful to me. Nothing about this seems “neat” enough to be a line. The ebb and flow and currents of streams seem more apt metaphors for the complexity of this subject. In any case, the role of different stages of development within streams is a fascinating subject. It is highly relevant to leader and leadership development and to analysis of leadership events. I have an image of all of these streams bound up in a wad of silly putty: push on one and the others are impacted by expanding, moving closer, moving away.

And this is not a subject unfamiliar to the field of leadership studies. It relates closely to trait theory and the popular theories of leadership by Bennis, Kouzes and Posner, and others. However, it does suggest a shift to a more organic, messy way of understanding qualities and traits in relation to each other over time. From a developmental point of view, in preparation for the possibility that an individual will take on a leadership role, the admonition to develop along all streams seems about the best we can do. They are all so enmeshed. If this is the case, something like an integral practice is very appropriate. What are the integral practices that are available to us? Which ones “work” best (a question for which there is not likely to be one answer)?

Then, if we are to consider streams of development for individuals, then we need to do so for systems and cultures or, for that matter, not just the micro, but also the meso, macro and higher levels of organization and complexity, as well. Perhaps the important thing here, from a leader point of view, is just the recognition of development as a stream and the flowing together of multiple variables each of which impacts the others. Here is one of the values of approaches like the Balanced Scorecard in that it recognizes this multivariable approach to system development. How do we prepare individuals for leader roles in the face of this complexity? How do we develop systems and culture in ways that support this development and the effectiveness of leader activity? What are the monitoring and feedback mechanisms that are most useful? Talk about libraries of research and writing about a subject! Here we have the whole world of systems and organizational development.

(4) States (of consciousness lens) and Types (or styles lens

I find it interesting that you combined these two or linked them. I wonder what the relationship is. As I understand states, these are temporary, whereas types tend to be more “permanent.” Masculine and feminine (as opposed to male and female) are co-existent types within each of us. They flex and vary in response to stimulus (and probably a lot more). MBTI (Myers-Briggs Typology Inventory) types tend to be as difficult to change, as is upward stage development as adults. The types question in relation to leadership is also linked to the idea of traits. States are phenomenologically transitory. How do these help us understand leadership and develop leader capabilities?

(5) Perspectives

Wilber has linked these to the quadrants in his model/map. They are the methodologies we use for learning from experience and observation. They are the tools for research and meaning making. I think this is an important contribution not only to integral studies but to showing the path for the integration of different perspectives represented in academic disciplines. Of all of his contributions this one seems to me to be the most powerful in relation to transcending disciplinary boundaries. Its message with regard to leadership is that each perspective brings value added to analyzing and developing leadership in human systems.

Because the field of leadership studies is really a field, rather than a discipline, it is a natural for the application of virtually any perspective and use of virtually any and all methodologies. In terms of mapping, key questions might include which methodologies will lead to what kinds of learning and how do we go about integrating the uses of multiple methodologies in the field?

(6) The drives of agency and communion (agency-communion lens)

Haven’t we already discussed this one? Figure 7.5 is an example of its application to leadership. It provides a way of sorting leaders and aspects of leadership accordingly. The question I would raise about this approach is that it characterizes individual leaders in terms of “stereotypical” representations of individual leaders. I am sure the intention is to illustrate the “categories generated in the matrix and is not intended to suggest that any of these individuals fall neatly into any one category. Nevertheless, the use of interior-exterior/agency-communion in relation to pre-normative, normative and post normative stages of development adds a level of complexity to the mapping that can be very much more clarifying than a simple four cell matrix. It suggests a set of questions to be asked of any leader and leadership system:

  • In what way does an individual demonstrate visionary leadership in terms of Agency Goal-Vision and Goal-Action?
  • In what way does an individual demonstrate communion Network-Vision and Action?
  • Which of these is post-normative, normative and pre-normative?
  • What are the implications of various combinations? I could see, for example, a leader seeking to engage with different segments of their cultures might articulate their visions and take action in ways to attract multiple sectors.

In any case, I see this as a potentially rich approach to our explorations of leadership.

(7) The translation-transformation lens

I will need you to help me out with what you intend by this lens. It suggests marginal change versus extraordinary change. It suggests different requirements of leaders and leadership for different types of change processes. This should be an interesting discussion.

(8) Relational exchange and the form of development (transition process lens)

How do you distinguish translation-transformation from the transition process? This category, too, introduces the whole question of process. This links to the mediating variables aspect of our discussion, as well. For mapping purposes we need a taxonomy of mediators and a taxonomy of processes to help us make sense of all of this. In other words, the “transition process” is not just one process but also many.

There are a host of topics to explore and discuss, Mark. How would you suggest we proceed? For now we offer our readers an opportunity to ponder those questions raised here (and others suggested) in relation to their own practice, development and theories of leadership. Increasingly I am convinced that those who seek to build a general theory of leadership need to build a metatheory that transcends and includes the various approaches that they bring to the table. My hope is that our work is useful in that process.

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