PhD research shows Transactional Analysis a win-win for employees and organisations

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Research by a recent Charles Sturt University PhD graduate shows how Transactional Analysis (TA) positively impacts human skills and attitudes, interactions and workplace culture and technical organisational structures.

  • The research explored the impacts of Transactional Analysis (TA) principles on an organisation’s policy and workplace practices
  • The basic TA principle of ‘I’m OK / You’re OK’ was perceived by research participants as being a crucial element for their development
  • TA was found to impact on all internal communication levels

Research by a recent Charles Sturt University PhD graduate shows how Transactional Analysis (TA) positively impacts human skills and attitudes, interactions and workplace culture and technical organisational structures.

Dr Lucia Wuersch (pictured) graduated from the Charles Sturt School of Communication and Creative Industries in the Faculty of Arts and Education in July 2020 during the COVID-19 outbreak and was formally awarded with her PhD at the graduation ceremony in Bathurst on Thursday 3 June.

Her research titled ‘Transactional Analysis in Organisations: A Case Study with a Focus on Internal Communication’ is an organisational study exploring the impacts of TA principles on policy and workplace practices.

Dr Wuersch explained that TA is a humanistic approach and an analytical framework for individual and social psychiatry, and is used in an organisational context (TA-O) for personal and group development.

Her analysis highlights how TA enhances an organisation’s socio-technical system.

“Internal communication, embracing both technical and human organisational aspects, is an important function for organisational success,” Dr Wuersch said.

“When placing emphasis on a human perspective, developing individual skills and a desire to accept others, an organisation is better placed to achieve a more meaningful role in the wider society.”

Using a case study of one public Swiss job counselling and placement organisation, Dr Wuersch’s study explored the question, ‘How does TA impact internal communication?’.

The study was designed as three complementary ethnographic fieldwork projects, and preliminary fieldwork uncovered the long-term adoption of TA principles in the organisation’s strategic policy, internal training, and workplace practices.

The first of three projects addressed the question: ‘How does TA contribute to the organisation’s strategic aims?’.

This project drew on in-depth interviews with the organisation’s senior executives and TA experts working in the organisation, to gain a better understanding of TA’s contributions to the organisation’s strategic aims.

The second project sought to answer the question: ‘How do leaders and employees perceive the influence of TA in their work experiences?’ through a series of collaborative interviews, with employees and their supervisors.

Finally, the researcher undertook an analytic autoethnographic study as a full participant in the organisation’s TA training sessions, to better reflect on the lived experiences of ‘How does TA contribute to an understanding of self and internal communication?’

“The research illustrated the interplay between TA-trained people engaged in improving organisational technical structures, and how enhanced organisational structures supported TA training and the development of people’s skills and attitudes,” Dr Wuersch said.

"Thus, the basic TA principle of ‘I’m OK / You’re OK’ ─ that is, an unconditional acceptance of self and others in terms of a human being ─ was perceived by research participants as being a crucial element for their development.”

Dr Wuersch showed that TA also was found to impact on all internal communication levels.

“Participants experienced self-development at the intrapersonal level, which strengthened collaboration at the interpersonal and group level, and fostered a common understanding at the organisational level,” she said.

“Therefore, the ‘I’m OK / You’re OK’ principle embodies the idea that there is a win-win situation for both the employees and the organisation.”

Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Dr Lucia Wuersch contact Bruce Andrews at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0418 669 362 or via news@csu.edu.au

Period17 Jun 2021

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Keywords

  • PhD
  • Transactional Analysis
  • Communication