Transactional Analysis - a framework to understand interpersonal relationship and interactions.
A concept developed by Eric Beme and in terms of existential positions conceptualized by Harries (1969). A transaction is a combination of a stimulus and its response in an interpersonal interaction. The personality of an individual comprises collection of behaviour patterns developed over a period of time. These behaviour patterns are invoked in different degrees from three ego states, viz, Parent, Adult and Child.
As Beme states, "although we cannot directly observer these ego statues, we can observe behaviour and from this we can infer which of the three ego states is operating at that moment, "The three ego statues are shows as P, A, C.
And individual's personality has a combination of these three ego states which could be unique to an individual. It would also not have a direct relation to the age of and individual. Thus, we may have an individual who is proportionately more adult (orientation) at the age of sixteen and have another individual who is more child (orientation) at the age of sixty. This profile of the ego states of an individual determines his interaction with another individual. Thus one could behave in a more regulatory/analytical or very causal orientation while dealing with others. In the context of influencing others in the organization an appropriate behaviour is required.
Eric Beme defined the ego states as "consistent pattern of feeling and experience directly related to a corresponding consistent pattern of behaviour." The terms parent, adult, child are related to orientations an individual has. For instance,
- The parent ego state regulates behaviour and nurtures it.
- The adult ego state collects information and processes it.
- The child is concerned with creativity, curiosity, reactions to others and adjusting behviour.
The child ego state is associated with the behaviour that appears when a person is responding emotionally. A person's Child contains the "natural" impulses and attitudes learned from experiences. The child ego state can be classified into Adopted child, Natural child and Little Professor. The adopted child is that part of child state which adapts to what must be done to others to get along. A natural child tries to enjoy every bit and take the things as they come. The little professor is the "thinking" part of child. It is creative, intuitive, imaginative and does experimentation. He dreams up new ideas. The Compatibility of people largely depends on the ego states of interacting people. If the transaction is complementary, viz., from Parent to Child and back from Child to Parent or Adult to Adult, situation is classified as desirable. But, if the transaction is crossed, i.e. Parent to Child and again from Parent to Child, it is not a desirable situation, the transaction is blocked.
People make basic assumptions about their own self-worth as well as about the significant people in their environment. Harris called these combinations as Life Positions. These life positions are described in terms of Okayness. Thus the individuals are either OK or NOT OK. Four life positions can be described as:
1. I am OK you are OK (both have value)
2. I am OK you are NOT OK (i have value but you don't have value)
3. I am NOT OK you are OK (you have value but i don't have value)
4. I am NOT OK you are NOT OK (neither person have value).