Lawrence Kohlberg 's Moral Development Theory Essay

Lawrence Kohlberg 's Moral Development Theory Essay

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Lawrence Kohlberg served as a professor at Harvard University for many years but rose to fame for his work there starting from the early 1970s. He is mostly known for his moral development theory that he based on the works of philosopher John Dewey and psychologist Jean Piaget. According to him, humans’ progress in their moral reasoning occurs in a series of stages. He formulated three levels of moral reasoning, which he further divided into 6 stages. In the obedience and punishment stage of the pre-conventional level, individuals’ behavior complies with norms that are socially acceptable as told by some authority, for instance, teacher or parent. Obedience is usually informed by the application or threat or punishment (Barger, 2000). The second stage of the level is the individualism, instrumentalism, and the exchange stage in which individuals are of the view that acting in own best interest is what produces the right behavior. In the conventional level, the first stage also known as “good boy/girl” features an attitude that seeks to engage in behavior that will attract approval from others. In the second stage (law and order), the individual abides by the law and order and responds to the obligations attached to his/her duty. Lastly, the post-conventional level, according to Kohlberg, is not attained by most adults. Its first stage (social contract) implies a genuine concern in the welfare of other people and an understanding of social mutuality. The second stage of this level (principled conscience) is characterized by demands of individual conscience and respect for universal principle (Barger, 2000). Although his work was later criticized by some scholars, Kohlberg’s theory of moral development has helped build a perspective...


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...eree, 2006a). A good understanding of a patient’s cognition is important as it allows the nurse to constantly organize and reorganize the tasks of care and the priorities in order to accommodate the fluctuating status of a patient. This is especially so because the hospital environment may be characterized by numerous distractions may affect the cognition of a patient.
These developmental theorists help nurses to understand people thought process. Due to their hard work nurses are now able to understand that age does not determine how a person think. Nurses are now able to identify the development stage of an individual resulting in rapport. When a nurse builds rapport they are more likely to have effective communication. When communication is effective, the environment becomes therapeutic. Leading to patient compliance and allows for best possible health outcome.

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