Transactional Analysis Communication and Management

How is the transactional analysis model useful for managers?
How can understanding the mechanisms of transactional analysis help to resolve conflicts or communication problems?

Transactional analysis test and impact

Dr Eric Berne, an American psychiatrist, is the founder of Transactional Analysis. Transactional analysis (also known as TA) is a theory of personality and communication. It postulates “ego states” (Parent, Adult, Child), and studies intrapsychic phenomena through relational exchanges, known as “transactions”.

Assess Manager uses transactional analysis indicators to gain a better understanding of how individuals and managers function within companies.

We offer a transactional analysis test combined with other indicators such as neuroscience and NLP, all the results of which can be found in the personality test.

Transactional analysis questions

  • Does a visionary leader have a developed free child?
  • Will a manager help his teams to develop their autonomy with a strong critical parent?
  • What is the relationship between management style and transactional analysis?

Transactional analysis helps to develop a better understanding and awareness of “what’s happening here and now” in relationships between two people and in groups.
Transactional analysis provides a framework for understanding relationship problems and suggests logical ways of intervening.

Karpman’s triangle can clarify the nature of the issues at stake in the relationship.

The booklet on conflict management explores these combined concepts in greater depth, providing background thoughts, conflict resolution protocols and training exercises.

Transactional analysis theories are covered in detail in the book “Le management à porter demain” published by EMS Coach (2 volumes).

Transactional analysis diagram

The transactional analysis model can be defined schematically as follows:

  • Will a manager be more creative if his free child is developed?
  • Will a manager help his teams to develop their autonomy with a strong critical parent?

What is the relationship between management style and transactional analysis?

The Assess Manager personality test assesses how a person positions themselves. You can take the test for personal use or as part of your coaching (3 months free).

The simplified Transactional Analysis egogram is included in the personality report for the Assess Manager test.

Management and Transactional Analysis communication grid

Positive aspectsStatesNegative aspects
Protects and advises
Reassures, consoles, helps, encourages and supports. It encourages growth. It has a permissive, supportive function To err is human. Now you know
NurturingParent Smothers and coerces
Mothering, suffocating, unable to delegate. Has a Rescuer role(see Karpman’s dramatic triangle) “If you don’t know how to do it, leave it. I’ll do it later”
Reminds you of the rules
Guides, sets standards, rules.
It has a protective function, in relation to the individual or the group.” Please, Paul speaks. Let’s pay attention in this meeting.”
NormativeParent Devalues and punishes
Judges, criticises, devalues self or others. Threatens, controls. Takes on the role of Persecutor(see Karpman’s dramatic triangle) “You work any way you want!
Analyses and observes
Asks and answers questions. He seeks information, organises and makes assumptions. He is logical and objective. He focuses on the facts. Makes decisions.
AdultBeing by definition “adapted” to the here and now, Adults have no negative side as such. However, they can be cold or distant, with no feelings.
A person who always functions “in their Adult” could give the impression of being like a robot.
Questions and challenges
It questions habits and rules and helps to dust things off. It is creative. “What’s the point?
Adapted child RebelCritical and rebellious
Systematically rebels. “It’s useless!”
Adapts to company rules, does the right thing, in a fairly appropriate way. He is polite and respectful. “You’re right, I’ll …”
Adapted Submissive childAdapts and submits
Adapts to other people’s requests and expectations in a rather passive way, even if he thinks the idea is inappropriate. He complains and adopts a rather defensive stance. “He plays the role of Victim(see Karpman’s dramatic triangle)
Inspires enthusiasm.
He reacts spontaneously, expresses his needs, desires and fears” Wow, that’s a great idea!
Free childSurprises
They are uncontrollable and insolent and can become fervent opponents if you don’t get their support.
He’s impulsive and disorganised, and takes risks Let’s give it a try and see what happens! It can’t get any worse anyway!

Transactional analysis and communication in management

Assess Manager takes a closer look at certain aspects of transactional analysis, in particular through the ZOOM-ER product, which shows the proportion dedicated to each part of the ego for an individual: the child, the adult and the parent (partial TA egogram).

For the child, we also distinguish between the tendency to be submissive or rebellious, which only makes sense if the child is developed.

The free child is measured if the indicators of openness and social ease in the ZOOM-ER report are positive (tendency to express opinions spontaneously). The trend can also be confirmed with the “organised” indicator if it is particularly low.

For the parent, we can distinguish between the critical parent and the nurturing parent, using Karpman’s dramatic triangle, which is also represented in ZOOM-ER.

These positions are directly linked to the way in which the manager positions himself in relation to his teams.

  • The directive leader will often have a developed critical parent
  • The parternalistic leader will have a well-developed nurturing parent
  • The participative leader will often have a developed adult, as will the delegative leader.
  • The delegative leader may have a share of the free child as a complement.
  • The adapted child, although an important part, is more rarely found in the manager, who does not aspire to this responsibility or is unable to be given responsibility. However, the submissive child can sometimes do well in teams with processes that define the working rules and avoid having to position him or herself (large companies where rules predominate – see Corporate Culture).

Reminder – Transactional Analysis tools

Assess Manager provides you with 2 key tools:

The AT Personality Test and Egogram, free for 3 months

The Assess Manager personality test assesses the way a person positions themselves (transactional analysis egogram). You can use this test for free for 3 months and discover additional indicators that are relevant to your coaching (Karpman, neuroscience, etc.), as well as many other advantages.

Book : Management and TA links

The management bible sheds light on the impact of transactional analysis on managerial postures

To go further with Assess Manager