Publications by Bill Torbert

Developmental Measures Compared 2016
Brief Comparison of Five Developmental Measures: the GLP, the MAP, the LDP, the SOI, and the WUSCT
primarily in terms of pragmatic and transformational validity and efficacy William R. Torbert © 2014

Listening into the Dark:
An essay testing the validity and efficacy of Collaborative Developmental Action Inquiry for describing and encouraging the transformation of self, society, and scientific inquiry (Integral Review. 2013, 9(2), 264-299)

Seven Transformations of Leadership

In 2012, HBR chose this article as one of its 10 best leadership articles ever for its new book on the Top Ten Leadership MUST READS.

Most developmental psychologists agree that what differentiates one leader from another is not so much philosophy of leadership, personality, or style of management. Rather, it’s internal “action logic”–how a leader interprets the surroundings and reacts when his or her power or safety is challenged. Relatively few leaders, however, try to understand their action logic, and fewer still have explored the possibility of changing it. They should, because leaders who undertake this voyage of personal understanding and development can transform not only their own capabilities but also those of their companies.

Action Inquiry
Bill Torbert and associates illustrate how individuals and organizations can progress through more and more sophisticated “action-logics” — strategies for analyzing the world and reacting to it — until they will eventually be able to practice action inquiry continually. Offering action inquiry exercises at the end of the chapters, the book moves from junior managers beginning to practice action inquiry through CEO’s transforming whole companies, to world leaders transforming whole countries, as exemplified by Czech president Vaclav Havel. Through short stories of leadership and organizational transformations, this groundbreaking book illustrates how action inquiry increases personal integrity, relational mutuality, company profitability, and long-term organizational and environmental sustainability.

  • Offers a powerful method that leaders in organizations of all types can use to increase the timeliness and effectiveness of their actions
  • Provides numerous real-world examples of action inquiry in action
  • Includes exercises individuals and organizations can use to begin practicing action inquiry


More Publications by Bill Torbert

Bill’s description of beginning to learn action inquiry and discovering the theory of organizational development, when he directed the War on Poverty Yale Upward Bound Program, 1966-68: Creating a Community of Inquiry: Conflict, Collaboration, Transformation (Wiley, London, 1976)

Bill’s study that discovered the “four territories of experience” theory of learning: Learning from Experience: Toward Consciousness (Columbia University Press, New York, 1972)

Bill’s first complete elaboration of his theories of individual and organizational action-logics (with one chapter dedicated to each action-logic, including early statistical findings) in his national award winning Managing the Corporate Dream: Restructuring for Longterm Success (Dow Jones – Irwin, Homewood Il., 1987)

Some peer-reviewed journal articles and chapters, using quantitative and qualitative methodologies and early versions of the Global Leadership Profile psychometric:

Meaning-Making and Management Action, Group & Organization Studies, 1987

Transforming Managerial Practice: Beyond the Achiever Stage, chapter in Research in Organizational Change and Development, 1991

Autobiographical Awareness as a Catalyst for Managerial and Organizational Development, Management Education & Development, 1992

Cultivating Postformal Development: Higher Stages and Contrasting Interventions, chapter in Transcendence and Mature Thought in Adulthood, 1994

Organizational Transformation as a Function of the CEO’s Developmental Stage, Organization Development Journal, 1998

Factorial Validity of the GLP, Integral Review, 2009