Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development

How human beings develop morality with maturity.

As we mature, our morality evolves in a largely predictable way. This is improtant to understand the motivations of team members, or help craft more compelling characters.

Pre-Conventional: In this stage a person acts solely out of self-interest. They respond to punishment and rewards. If something feels good, they do it. If it feels bad, they don’t do it.

Conventional: People respond to social norms. They do things because society expects them to, so they are considered a good person. Or they do things to follow the law and rules.

Post-Conventional: Develop independent ethical thoughts. During this phase people develop and codify their own individual ethical frameworks that they place above social norms, laws or rules.

Note that moral development is related to maturity, not age. Many people never reach the post-conventional stage of moral development.