Transactional analysis in workplace practice: A case study in Switzerland

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Offering Transactional Analysis (TA) training to all employees is a significant decision for an organisation. This paper explores a practical example of how mandatory TA training influences the daily workplace experiences of leaders and employees, particularly, their internal communication practices. A case study approach is applied to investigate an organisation in Switzerland.
The case organisation is a large public agency with about 300 employees who have been using TA through internal training for more than two decades. The overall mission of the case organisation consists of supporting jobseekers through effective counselling to reintegrate them rapidly and permanently into the job market.
This study inquires TA applications and internal communication concepts using Welch and Jackson’s (2007) internal communication matrix. This matrix specifies four dimensions and levels of internal communication according to multiple internal stakeholder groups. Three of these dimensions can be associated with an interpersonal level—internal communication between supervisors and employees, between team colleagues, and between project group colleagues. The fourth dimension, internal communication between senior management and all employees, is related to the organisational level.
Data include a series of one-on-one interviews with eight leaders (site and team leaders) and 16 employees (personnel consultants and administrative staff), as well as organisational artefacts and documents. The analysis of the collected data is conducted using King and Brook’s (2017) six-step approach of template analysis. After an iterative coding process, a final template emerged. It shows the participants’ socially constructed perceptions (Patton, 2015) of TA influencing their work experiences.
The findings of this case study illustrate eight shared TA work experiences amongst both leaders and employees: 1) using TA concepts in daily work such as Ego states, Life positions, and the Drama Triangle; 2) improving soft skills such as self-reflection, managing emotions and dealing with difficult situations; 3) developing a humanistic attitude through increased tolerance, empathy, and appreciation of others; 4) changing internal structures, for example, by establishing meeting Contracts; and 5) achieving internal benefits such as improved job satisfaction and a healthy organisational culture. Additionally, 6) many participants perceived their TA application as mostly implicit and automatic. Furthermore, 7) participants commonly expressed considerations about the organisation’s TA application, such as preconditions that must be fulfilled for TA to be successful. Finally, 8) TA work experiences emerged on all internal communication levels, emphasising the intrapersonal level of self. Such an emphasis on self is novel in internal communication. As a result, this project suggests adding an intrapersonal internal communication level of self to the existing framework (Welch & Jackson, 2007).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2021
EventDeveloping Autonomy and Resilience: European Association for Transactional Analysis EATA Theory Development and Research Conference - Online, Belgrade, Serbia
Duration: 16 Jul 202117 Jul 2021


ConferenceDeveloping Autonomy and Resilience
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  • Transactonal Analysis
  • Workplace
  • Case Study


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