Transactional analysis, a theory that combines elements of psychology into a therapeutic approach, can benefit a workplace. In an organization, people need better communication to break down barriers between managers and employees and between competing departments. Using transactional analysis to develop communication among workers helps the organization become more focused and higher-achieving.
This therapeutic approach originates from psychology and psychoanalysis, but with useful implications for organizational development. Organizations use transactional analysis for training and developing employees. According to its founder, Dr. Eric Berne, transactional analysis gives participants more autonomy, or control over their own destiny, including the elements of spontaneity, intimacy and awareness.
The transactional analysis approach cannot work unless there is a contractual relationship involving different parties. An organization arranges training and therefore becomes a party in a contractual relationship with employees and trainers. Employees can participate in transactional analysis to learn more about themselves and increase their autonomy. As parties to such a transaction, employees will have rights and responsibilities that they accept in the beginning of the training process.
Transactional analysis rests on analyzing interactions between at least two people. People will interact using one of the three ego states. The Child ego state acts according to emotions, such as fear and anxiety. The Adult ego state describes rational thought processes including problem-solving. The Parent ego includes rules learned about society and life in the early part of life; a person accepts rules without question.
Use in Organizations
A trainers can use transactional analysis to help participants understand how we communicate in dysfunctional patterns such as from a Parent or Child ego state instead of an Adult ego state. When people become more aware, they can communicate more openly at work. This awareness on the part of many individuals promotes functional communication and eradication of dysfunctional behavior patterns. Following transactional analysis, professionals can work together to identify organizational needs and problem-solving methods.