Sharon L. Spano, Fielding's School of Human & Organizational Development
This qualitative study explores how executive leaders who assessed at the conventional and post-conventional stages of development experience wisdom. It examines a linkage between how these executive leaders understand their leadership role in terms of the cognitive, reflective, and affective domains of personality. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to determine participants’ experience. Participants were also assessed for their meaning-making capacity to determine their stage of development using the SCTi-Map instrument. Findings suggest that participants experience wisdom within the single and integrative domains of wisdom. Findings also suggest that there is no direct relationship between how leaders experience wisdom and their adult stages of development. Participant responses indicated a capacity for wisdom at both the conventional and post-conventional stages of development in different ways. Thematic analysis indicates that this experience involves (a) access to a moral code of ethics as a source of wisdom, (b) an understanding of self in relation to others and adverse phenomenon, and (c) wise acts of leadership that stem from a commitment to doing the right thing for the organization or society-at-large.
Key Words: constructive-developmental theory; wisdom theory; leadership development