Ego States in E. Berne’s Transactional Analysis and the Dominant Ways Managers Use to Solve Conflicts

Magdalena Kraczla
European Research Studies Journal, Volume XXVI, Issue 1, 280-312, 2023
DOI: 10.35808/ersj/3112


Purpose: The article aims to capture and present relationships between a manager’s personality structure and their conflict resolution styles. The fast pace of work and the constant changeability of organizational life make broadly understood conflicts an everyday phenomenon. Therefore, it is interesting how managers behave in conflict situations, what kind of conflict resolutions they adopt, and what determines the adoption of a specific response style. This knowledge is particularly valuable from the cognitive and practical points of view as it helps optimize managers’ behaviour in their business practices. Design/Methodology/Approach: Two research tools were used in the studies presented in this paper: the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI), and the Ego State Scale (the Egogram) by K. Kälin and P. Müri. The latter refers to the functional model of personality proposed by E. Berne’s Transactional Analysis, which makes it possible to determine dominant personality predispositions presented as so-called ego states. Findings: This article presents the findings of research whose main objective was to determine dependencies between the ego states that make up one’s personality and one’s conflict resolution style, described by means of a theoretical construct proposed by K. Thomas and R. Kilmann. When subjected to multifaceted analysis and interpretation, the obtained correlations provide good insight into the mechanisms and causes of these relationships. Practical Implications: The findings of research into the interdependencies between ego states and behaviour styles in conflict situations point to a number of different actions that can be taken to give managers more control over their behaviour, with the ultimate aim of improved and more effective conflict resolution. Originality/Value: The findings are of significant cognitive and practical importance as they confirm a close relationship between intrapsychic phenomena and human behaviour in real-life situations. They make it possible to understand managers’ tendencies to adopt specific styles of behaviour, regardless of situational variables. The captured dependencies can play a huge role in preparing people in managerial functions to consciously improve their professional behaviour.

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