Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Don Blohowiak's dissertation on, "Reinterpreting Kelly and Maslow: Effecting a Method to Integrate Psychological Theories"

Don Blohowiak, Fielding's School of Human & Organizational Development

Situated in the literature that calls for less fragmentation and greater unification in psychological theory, this study undertakes the integration of two unrelated psychological theories from the past century that remain relevant if not prevalent: George A. Kelly’s personal construct theory and Abraham H. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In integrating Kelly and Maslow, the study builds on the theory-knitting concept (Kalmar & Sternberg, 1988), elucidating a method for integrating unrelated psychological theories. This theory integration method examines underlying ontological and epistemological assumptions to identify commonalities that disparate theories may share albeit not obviously so. In the study’s prototype example, such assumptions are identified and informed through analysis of texts written by Kelly and Maslow as well as psychobiographical examination of the two authors. As a result of integrating the theories of Kelly and Maslow, a synergistic theory of human development is produced, personal interpretive needs theory.

Key words: developmental theory; humanistic psychology; Kelly, George A.; Maslow, Abraham H.; needs theory; personal construct theory; psychological theory; theory construction; theory integration; theory bridging; theory knitting; theory unification.

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