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Fostering post‐conventional consciousness in leaders: why and how?

Charles Baron (Department of Management, Laval University, Québec, Canada)
Mario Cayer (Department of Management, Laval University, Québec, Canada)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 12 April 2011




The purpose of this paper is to clarify why and how leadership development programs should be used to foster post‐conventional consciousness in their participants.


Starting from the observation that current and future organizational challenges may be met with particular efficacy by leaders who operate in the post‐conventional stages of consciousness, this paper offers a comprehensive review of the work on consciousness development, the process by which it occurs, the distinctive abilities of leaders who have reached post‐conventional stages of consciousness and, finally, two practices which favour the emergence of these stages, namely mindfulness meditation and Bohm dialogue.


The paper shows how these two practices little‐used in the management field make it possible to reconcile the two main approaches to consciousness development: the recognition of one's cognitive, affective and operative patterns and their suspension in favour of a more direct contact with reality, in the here and now.

Practical implications

The paper highlights guiding principles for integrating such practices into leadership and management development programs.


Although the value of post‐conventional stages of consciousness in management and leadership roles is the subject of increasing discussion, to the authors' knowledge no work has yet thoroughly examined practices that foster post‐conventional development per se.



Baron, C. and Cayer, M. (2011), "Fostering post‐conventional consciousness in leaders: why and how?", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 344-365.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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