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ERIC Number: ED530763
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 229
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1247-2304-4
Constructive Developmental Theory and Programming across Cultures: An Examination of the Development and Experiences of Adult Burmese Participants in a High Quality Adaptive Capacity Development Program
Lindsley, Robert Bugden
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Harvard University
A recent movement in international development has seen the expansion of capacity development activities to include adaptive approaches to education. Adaptive approaches are distinct from traditional approaches to education as they seek not only to provide new knowledge, but to cultivate more complex and flexible qualities of mind. Borrowed from Western approaches to leadership and executive education, these program designs are rooted in the tenants of constructive developmental theory. While tremendously influential, guiding thousands of studies and dozens of applied programs, constructive developmental approaches are little studied outside of the Western cultural context. Existing literature suggests that influential constructive developmental models such as those provided by Kegan, Loevinger, and Kohlberg are likely to function in non-Western populations, but with open questions around the nature of the later stages in collectivist cultural contexts outstanding. No studies investigating the functioning of constructive developmental education outside of the West are represented in the literature, leaving a gap that needs to be addressed before adaptive capacity development programs (ACDPs) can move forward with confidence. This dissertation seeks to take advantage of the opportunity provided by ACDPs to better understand the functioning of constructive developmental theory and programming outside of the Western context. Using a study design rooted in Kegan's theory of adult development, the dissertation employs a two-stage approach using both open-ended qualitative interviews and a standardized developmental measure to investigate student experiences and development during their attendance at a high quality ACDP on the Thai-Burmese border. Results indicate that the basic premises of Kegan's theory were functioning well in Burmese populations, and the participants in the program experienced a comparable degree, rate, and sequence of development as similarly designed programs in the West. Unfortunately, a limited distribution in the developmental scores of participants prevented any conclusions to be drawn about the nature of the later stages of Kegan's theory in collectivist populations. Data around participant experiences indicated that the cross-cultural nature of the program led to distinct tensions in the lives of the students, but that these tensions had strongly generative aspects as well. While these findings by and large support the movement to import constructive developmental theories and program designs into work in the international development community, additional study, especially on the functioning of culturally adapted versions of such programs, is needed. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Burma; Thailand