Dr. Robert Kegan

Co-Founder & Chief Knowledge Officer
  • World-renowned author on and pioneer in the field of adult development
  • Harvard Researcher & Professor Emeritus
  • Co/author of An Everyone Culture, Immunity to Change, The Evolving Self, and In Over Our Heads, and dozens of seminal articles in the field of personal, professional and organizational development
  • Co-creator of the Immunity to Change® coaching process
  • Dartmouth & Harvard (PhD)

Deliberately Developmental Organizations® will become the gold standard in the 21st century. They will be the places people clamor to join, the cultures others seek to emulate, and the head-turning drivers of spectacular results.

– Dr. Robert Kegan, Co-Founder & Chief Research Officer

Dr. Robert Kegan is arguably the single most cited thought-leader in the field of adult development today. His ground-breaking works on human and organizational behavior include The Evolving Self, In Over Our Heads, Immunity to Change, How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work, and An Everyone Culture. Long a sought-after speaker to professional groups in every sector and geography, Kegan’s writings have been translated into twelve languages.

Regularly quoted in such publications as The New York Times and Forbes, the Harvard University’s Meehan Professor of Adult Learning and Professional Development is as comfortable in the boardroom as the classroom. CEOs worldwide ask him to assist them personally, their teams, and their organizations, to define and implement high-value improvement processes. His insight into individual and collective “immunities to change” has resulted in significant and sustainable improvements due to generative shifts in underlying mindsets.

For The Developmental Edge: Kegan is TDE’s co-founder and Chief Knowledge Officer. For TDE, Kegan provides high-level consulting to leaders and organizations, drawing on his deep understanding of individual and organization development. He also conducts widely-admired workshops and delivers powerful keynotes on such topics as becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization®, the 21st Century Growth Culture®, and “Business as UNusual: the New Social Contract at Work.”

Industry Highlights: As one of the foremost researchers on organizational and human psychology, Kegan has intensely studied companies of all sizes, shapes and industries, from global to boutique. The demand for his consulting work means his advisory work is just as far-ranging, with particular emphasis on Healthcare, Professional Service Organizations and Education/Nonprofits.

Dr. Robert Kegan’s Theories and Models

Dr. Robert Kegan is a world-renowned author on, and pioneer in, the field of adult development. His models for helping adults to understand the world around them, and to change how they operate within it, have been widely cited, copied, coached on and commented upon.

  • Co-Creator, Deliberately Developmental Organization® model – Developed with his colleagues at The Developmental Edge and featured in the book An Everyone Culture, this model outlines how companies can and should foster individual and organizational growth in the 21st century.
  • Co-creator of the Immunity to Change® coaching process – First introduced in How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work and further evolved in Immunity to Change, this model helps individuals identify and overcome the deep-seated, limiting assumptions that are preventing them from making meaningful change.

    His seminal contribution – the result of thirty years of investigation at Harvard – lays out the stages in the development of increasingly encompassing ways of making meaning throughout the lifespan. This breakthrough in better understanding The Development of Consciousness undergirds TDE’s practical new models now supporting individual and collective growth in organizations all over the world.

Books by and including Dr. Robert Kegan

Dr. Robert Kegan is the leading thinker on human development of our generation. Kegan is a prolific researcher and author on how adults learn and grow in both personal and professional settings. His groundbreaking works include:

  • The Goals Behind the Goals: Pursuing Adult Development in the Coaching Enterprise (included in Beyond Goals: Effective Strategies for Coaching and Mentoring, 2013).
  • From Subject to Object: A Constructive-Developmental Approach to the Reflective Practice (included in Handbook of Reflection and Reflective Inquiry, Mapping a Way of Knowing for Professional Reflective Inquiry, 2010, and written with L. Lahey)
  • Easing a World of Pain: Learning Disabilities and the Psychology of Self-Understanding (included in Learning Disabilities and Life Stories, 2001)
  • How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work: Seven Languages for Transformation (Jossey-Bass, 2001 with L. Lahey)… Why is the gap so great between our hopes, our intentions, even our decisions, and what we are actually able to bring about? Kegan and TDE’s Dr. Lisa Lahey explore how individuals, teams and companies can identify impediments to change and develop language for finally moving themselves, their teams and their companies in their chosen direction.
  • From Taxonomy to Ontogeny: Thoughts on Loevinger’s Theory in Relation to Subject-Object Psychology (included in Personality Development: Theoretical, Empirical and Clinical Investigations of Loevinger’s Conception of Ego Development, 1998)
  • A Guide to the Subject-Object Interview: Its Administration and Interpretation (1988 with Dr. Lisa Lahey, Emily Souvaine, Robert Goodman and Sally Felix of The Subject-Object Research Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Eudcation)
  • Adult Leadership and Adult Development: A Constructionist View (included in Leadership: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, 1984 and written with L. Lahey)
  • The Psychologic of Emotions (included in Emotional Development, 1982 and written with G. Noam and L. Rogers)
Articles & Papers by Dr. Robert Kegan

Dr. Robert Kegan regularly publishes updates on his research work and applied, real-world findings. His body of articles & papers is extensive and includes:

Dr. Robert Kegan Background & Education

A Harvard researcher and professor for more than 40 years, Dr. Kegan is a licensed psychologist and practicing therapist who researches, writes and consults on professional development and adult learning. From early on his work promoted, not only the possibility, but the necessity of continuing psychological transformation in adulthood – effectively, that you can and must teach an old dog new tricks.

Kegan continues as the William and Miriam Meehan Research Professor in Adult Learning and Professional Development at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He also served for more than twenty years as the Educational Chair for the Harvard Institute for Management and Leadership in Education; as Co-Director for the Change Leadership Group, a program for the training of change leadership coaches for school and district leaders; and as Co-Director of a joint program with the Harvard Medical School to bring principles of adult learning to the reform of medical education. Considered by many as the father of adult development, his proteges can be found across Fortune 500 and human development organizations worldwide.

Kegan received his undergraduate degree summa cum laude from Dartmouth, and his Ph.D. from Harvard University (1977).

Dr. Robert Kegan Honors & Accolades

Among other accolades, Kegan was recognized in 2019 with the Disruptor Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Disruptor Foundation and Tribeca Film Festival. Specifically, Kegan was honored for explorations that “have led to groundbreaking insights into the emergence of orders of human consciousness and the ongoing internal Copernican shifts that led to self-transformation.

  • Disruptor Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Disruptor Foundation and Tribeca Film Festival (2019)
  • Invited Faculty, World Economic Forum’s Davos Conference
  • The William and Miriam Meehan Research Professor in Adult Learning and Professional Development (the first endowed chair in Adult Development in the world)
  • Outstanding Teaching Award, Harvard University (awarded by the president)
  • Regular Guest Lecturer, Executive Development Programs at Harvard Schools of Business, Government and Medicine
  • Invited Plenary Speaker, Harvard Coaching Conference
  • Invited Plenary Speaker, International Leadership Association Conference
  • Invited Plenary Speaker, International Coaching Federation Conference
  • Honorary Doctorate of Letters, Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (2002)
  • Honorary Doctorate of Letters, Marywood University (2000)
  • Honorary Doctorate of Letters, State University of New York (1997)
  • Honorary Doctorate of Letters, University of New Hampshire (1995)
  • Teacher of the Year, Massachusetts Psychological Association (1992)
  • Faculty Service Award, National University Continuing Education Association (1987)
  • Spencer Research Fellowship (1982)
Dr. Robert Kegan Organizations

Dr. Robert Kegan has contributed to numerous organizations, including:

  • Co-Founder, Minds at Work, TDE’s sister organization
  • Fellow, Massachusetts Psychological Association
  • Fellow, Society for Values in Higher Education
  • Member, Editorial Board, Harvard Education Letter
  • Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Adult Development
  • Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Research in Child Development
Dr. Robert Kegan Personal Interests

Dr. Kegan is a husband, father and grandfather;  a retired airplane pilot, an avid poker player, and the unheralded inventor of the Base Average, “a more comprehensive way of gauging a baseball player’s offensive contributions.” To recharge, he enjoys spending time on, in, or near the water with his family on Martha’s Vineyard.