Good morning, I’m Chaplain Michael Jaques, a chaplain in the US Army Reserve and at the VA.


Stage Four

This morning I want to focus on stage four of McClelland’s power orientation model. If you recall, we discussed the four stages in previous blogs…as well as focusing on getting stuck in stage three. The fourth stage is depicted by “It moves me to do my duty.” These persons are moved beyond self-concern.

This model offers a way for caregivers and leaders to gain a better perspective on their feelings of powerlessness.


Hindu Illustration

A popular illustration of this stage is the Hindu story, in which the main character has to decide whether or not to use his power to fight against his own people. He receives wise counsel that he must fight because it is his duty to fight. 

The consequences of the use of his power are irrelevant. He should not be happy or sad or see it as success or failure. He should only find satisfaction that he did what he was supposed to do.

People in this stage are empowered by obligations to causes and circumstances outside of themselves. They see themselves as an instrument of a higher power in which they serve and influence others.

They have learned the dictum “Yield to higher authority, serve it, and you will feel happy and strong.”

Examples of people in this stage are religious and political leaders such as Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, and Malcolm X. Corporate executives are also often included in this category because they base their decisions on what is good for the organization rather than for themselves or the people.

Mature Stage

P4 (1)

This stage is considered the mature stage. Maturity is demonstrated when people, who have worked all the way through the stages, are able to use each stage appropriately based on the situation.

Those in in this stage answer this power-powerlessness dilemma by committing to some authority or purpose higher than themselves. To reiterate, “Yield to higher authority, serve it, and you will feel happy and strong.”


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