Pointing out that Piaget had attended very little to emotion or to the process and experience of development, Kegan sought to address these omissions, drawing on the work of object-relation theorists who explored how interpretations of self-other relationships evolved over time, and building strong intellectual bridges to educational practice, leadership, and organizational development. From Rick Reis. post
The focus of Kegan's (1994) theory is the "evolution of consciousness, the personal unfolding of ways of organizing experience that are not simply replaced as we grow but subsumed into more complex systems of mind".
Growth involves movement through five progressively more complex ways of knowing, which Kegan referred to as stages of development in 1982, orders of consciousness in 1994, and forms of mind in 2000.
The process of growth involves an evolution of meaning that is marked by continual shifts from periods of stability to periods of instability, leading to ongoing reconstruction of the relationship of persons with their environments (Kegan, 1982). Each succeeding order consists of cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal components.
Here I quote bits from the already brief summaries of adult ways of knowing, including order 5 which is infrequently reached and never reached before the age of forty.
Order 3: Socialized Mind. The ability to relate one durable category to another.
Order 4: Self-Authoring Mind. The ability to generalize across abstractions, also labeled systems thinking.
Order 5: Self-Transforming Mind. Individuals see beyond themselves, others, and systems of which they are a part to form an understanding of how all people and systems interconnect.