Laske’s ‘Transformative Effects of Coaching on Executives’ Professional Agendas’ (1999)

This blog contains a downloadable copy of Laske’s Psy.D. dissertation of 1999 (2 volumes). The thesis was submitted to William James College, Newton, MA. Readers were Robert Kegan, Ph.D., of Harvard Graduate School of Education; Samual Moncata, Ph.D., of William James College, Newton, MA. (then called ‘MA School of Professional Psychology’); and Tim Hall, Ph.D, of Boston University’s Business School. The dissertation is a comprehensive social-emotional and cognitive study of 6 executives from the Boston, MA, area, the first of its kind.

The dissertation comprises 2 parts:

1. volume 1 (5 chapters): methodology and findings

2. volume 2 (Appendices A to D, focused on the relationship of executive and adult development, and including interview data as well as  coaching recommendations based on interview scoring outcomes).

On this blog, a third part comprises the volumes’ figures.

In nuce, the dissertation undertakes to show the limitations of theories of executive development given their neglect of the ‘vertical development’ axis, both in its social-emotional and cognitive dimensions. It introduces the distinction between ‘ontic’ and ‘agentic’ development barely acted upon in organizations even today, as well as the issue of the linkage between the social-emotional and cognitive dimensions still unacknowledged in today’s developmental research. In the course of doing so, the thesis presents the original conceptualization of CDF, the Constructive Developmental Framework, originally referred to as ‘DSPT’, Developmental Structure/Process Tool, where ‘structure’ refers to social-emotional stage, and ‘process’ to phase of cognitive development (the latter pioneered by Elliott Jaques).

The academic uniqueness of the thesis lies in connecting, for the first time, Kegan’s assessment of ‘social-emotional’ stage with Basseches’ assessment of cognitive phase, for the sake of formulating a comprehensive ‘vertical’ profile of executives and leaders, accomplished by integrating Elliott Jaques’ work on Requisite Organization. As a result, the thesis presented CDF, the Constructive Developmental Framework, a ‘depth-first’ assessment methodology whose stringency and depth of developmental thinking is still unsurpassed today. Despite of being focused on executive coaching, not a single “coaching school” except Paul Anwandter’s Academia Inpact, Santiago de Chile, took note of the research presented in the thesis.

Anticipating today’s interest in ‘artificial intelligence’, chapter 5 of volume 1 (p. 214) sketches an artificial intelligence mechanism for automating developmental interview analysis, a project not greatly advanced even 20 years later. The chapter’s title is “DSPT: A Tool for Monitoring Executive Development with regard to Cognitive Flexibility and Developmental Vulnerability and Resilience”. The dissertation pits consciousness as (social-emotional) structure against consciousness as (cognitive) process, thereby shedding light on two sides of mental functioning in a way that would be useful to consider when building complex, ‘dialogue savvy’, Apps, as were first dealt with in the 2018 book  on ‘Dynamic Collaboration’ ( co-authored by Jan De Visch and the blog author.

The 1999 dissertation was never published except through UMI [Proquest] dissertation services (), where it is available under order no. 9930438.

All teachings at the Interdevelopmental Institute between 2000 and the present are based on an explication of the thesis for the sake of teaching the Constructive Developmental Framework through certification courses, workshops, keynotes, articles (many of which are found on under Blogs), and books (under Publications).

The first, and it seems, only, dissertation extending the research on cognitive development in the thesis was written by Dr Iva Vurdelja 12 years later (see ).

Laske 1999 dissertation vol. 1

Laske 1999 dissertation vol. 2

Figures vol. 1 & 2 (Appendix E, vol. 2)