Public Administration ETDs

Publication Date



Transactional Analysis (TA) is a method of analyzing human behavior which was originally clinical in its applications and, in the last ten years, has been applied to organizational behavior. In response to the need of managers to deal effectively with difficult interpersonal problems within organizations, TA has been applied in organizational development, management development, and personal development programs. This widespread use of TA justified the need to study its concepts as they relate to organizational behavior and, in so doing, to clarify its applications in a systematic format. At the same time, variables could be isolated for future empirical research which could lead to the validation or rejection of TA's claims. Since TA has not been validated empirically, this was considered an important function of this study.

The analytical phase of this study was conducted through a survey of literature which focused on TA's basic concepts of ego states, transactions, strokes, time structure, psychological games, and life scripts. These concepts were found logically consistent with one another and practical in their potential applications to the analysis of organizational behavior. In addition to their traditional applications with individuals, it was found that TA concepts could be extrapolated for use at the organizational level. For example, ego-grams could be devised using TA's ego state concept to define collective patterns of organizational behavior or behavior within relationships. Additional instruments such as the transaction diagram, stroking profile, and time structure diagram should produce results consistent with one another in analyzing behavior in a particular organization. The analysis of organizational games and scripts should also reveal information regarding the effectiveness of the organizational behavior system. However, it is apparent that these concepts embody variables that must be tested empirically if TA is to be validated as more than theory. These variables as identified in this study have great potential for future research.

TA was used to conduct a summary analysis of several management theories, and, in this analysis, TA's concepts were found compatible with current thinking around management systems. The application of TA to this area led to the assumption that certain pre-conditions exist which determine the causal variables of organizational climate and interpersonal orientation of employees. If this is the case, then pre-causal factors must be assessed and perhaps changed before a new management system can be successfully initiated.

To demonstrate how TA's claims might be empirically examined, a study was conducted to test the hypothesis that organizational communication climate correlates with ego functions. To test this claim, a questionnaire designed to procure measurements of communication climate and ego functions was administered to a group of employees within an organization. An analysis of the data produced no correlation. However, the study did demonstrate how TA may be empirically researched. It is hoped that this demonstration will lead to future empirical investigations of TA's concepts.

In concluding, it is claimed that the relating of TA's various components to organizational behavior in a systematic format was a theoretical observation unique to this study. Contingent to this was the identification of variables that could potentially lead to future study. Finally, the demonstration of how TA may be empirically studied clearly indicated that methods may be devised that could lead to the tangible acceptance or rejection of the theory.

Degree Name

Public Administration

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Public Administration

First Committee Member (Chair)

Donald Winston Smithburg

Second Committee Member

Leonard Arnold Stitelman

Third Committee Member




Document Type