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Subject Title: Organizational Behavior Sub Code: SBAX 1011

Course: B.Com II Year, III semester


Transactional analysis Meaning - Johary window, Life positions. Work Stress Causes
Types and Remedies.


Transactional analysis (TA) is a technique of analyzing and understanding inter-personal

behavior. When a person interacts with another a social transaction takes place. In such a
transaction one person responds to another. The study of these transactions is what called
transactional analysis.

The concept of TA was originally conceived by Eric Berne for the purpose of psychotherapy in
the 1950.


1. Self awareness
2. Ego states
3. Transactions
4. Stroking

These have been dealt with this chapter.

SELF AWARENESS:Awareness of self is vital in the context of inter-personal relationships.

Behavioral experts have identified four different levels of self awareness. These are:

1. The open self

2. The blind self
3. The hidden self and
4. The unknown self
Open self:

The open self refers to a condition of an individual that is known both to the individual
and to the person inter-acting. When the individual is honest and straightforward in
his dealings, it should be clear as to what he is doing and what his motives are.

Blind self:

The blind self refers to the state of an individual known to others but not known to him. For
example, a person may do certain things unconsciously without knowing the pros and cons of his
actions. But those watching him or inter-acting with him know the consequences of his actions.


Known to self Not known to self

Known to others Open Blind
Not known to others hidden Unknown
Hidden self:

The state of an individual known to him but not to others is what is called hidden self. There
are many things a person may not be prepared to discuss with others.

Unknown self:

The unknown self is the state of an individual that is neither known to him nor to the people
with whom he interacts.


Ego states are an individuals way of thinking or behaving at any time. Behavioral experts have
indentified three such states. These are:

1. Parent ego
2. Adult ego and
3. Child ego
The three states of ego relate to the behavioral aspects of age and have nothing to do with the
actual age of a person. A person of any age may have this ego states in different magnitudes.

Parent ego:

A person acting with the parent ego may exhibit such characteristics as being protective, caring,
cautious, nurturing or critical. Certain individuals may just be critical while others may possess a
combination of these characteristics, i.e., cautious and nurturing or protective and critical and so

Adult ego:

Adult ego state is characterized by logical thinking and reasoning. An individual acting with
adult ego is able to evaluate others with whom he interacts. He may also review his parent ego
and child ego characteristics by rational thinking.

Child ego:

People acting with the child ego are not able to be logical. They believe in immediate actions that
result in immediate satisfaction. Anxiety, dependence, fear etc, are some of the characteristics of
the child ego state.


The experiences of a person in his interaction with others right from his childhood days lead him
to certain conclusions about himself and others. It is this which is referred to as life positions
that fall into the following four categories:

1. I am o.k. You are o.k.

2. I am o.k. You are not o.k.
3. I am not o.k. You are o.k.
4. I am not o.k. You are not o.k.
Let us now discuss each of these.

I am o.k. You are o.k.:

People taking this life position believe in mutual give and take. They indulge in activities that are
mutually beneficial.

A manager acting with this life position delegates the necessary authority to his subordinates to
enable them to carry out the task assigned to them. He knows very well that if only the
subordinates accomplish their tasks, he will be able to face his superior.


You are o.k.

I am I am o.k. I am not o.k. I am

o.k. You are o.k. You are o.k. o.k.
I am o.k. I am not o.k.
You are not o.k. You are not o.k.
You are not o.k.

I am o.k. You are not o.k.:

A person taking this position does not trust others. He has a feeling that he alone can perform
I.e., he has superiority complex.

A manager acting with this life position does not repose faith in any of his subordinates. He
criticizes them often and may not come forward to delegate.

I am not o.k. You are o.k.:

Those persons who are powerless in comparison to others hold this life position. They
understand that they are not in a position to perform as effectively as others are. Such people
always complain about others peevishly take out their frustrations on others.
A manager holding the I am not O.K you are O.K life position knows very well that his
subordinates are better than he is. Such a manager will be keen on finding fault with his
subordinates with a view to hiding his own limitations.

I am not O.K. you are not O.K:

Those who cannot trust themselves and also others hold this life position. They lack interest in

A manager acting with such a life position is poor in everything. He can neither delegate
properly nor make good decisions. Such a person can only provoke others.


We often hear about people undergoing stress conditions. Stress arises when a persons unable to
meet the demand of the situation owing to his mental and/ or physical incapacity. It also arises
when the external environment is not conductive for a person to discharge his duties. In short, a
person is prone to stress conditions when he has to encounter critical situations often in his life.

The problem of stress is not peculiar to a formal workplace like an office or a business
establishment. Even housewives undergo stress. Stress may be physical as well as mental.

The object of this chapter is to deal with the problem of job related stress. It further deals with
the concept of counseling which is a technique used to get rid of stress.


A person undergoes stress when he feels that he is ill equipped to carry out the tasks assigned to
him. Not everyone undergoes stress in a workplace. It is also not possible to explain precisely the
situation that would give scope for stress because; many individuals are capable of performing
their tasks irrespective of their work situation. If, for example, we say that the vindictive attitude
of the management can lead to the problem of stress, it may not hold good always because many
employees may be able to work with ease despite the vindictive approach of the management.
Total absence of the stress may affect performance. A person needs to undergo a certain level of
stress to perform well. Excessive stress is harmful. When stress exceeds certain level, it can have
adverse effect on persons emotions, mental and physical health.

JOHN W.NEWSTROM AND KEITH DAVIS has made the following observations about

1. Stress is the general term applied to the pressures people feel in life.
2. The presence of stress at work is almost inevitable in many jobs.
3. Individuals differences account for a wide range of reactions to stress a task viewed as
challenging by one person may produce high levels of anxiety in another.
4. When pressure begins to build up, it can cause adverse strain on a persons emotions,
thought process and physical condition.
5. When stress becomes excessive, employees develop various symptoms that can harm
their job performances and health and even threaten their ability to cope with the


The various factors that cause stress can be grouped under:

1. Personal factors and

2. Organizational factors


The personal factors responsible for stress include, among others, the following:

1. Ability
2. Perception
3. Manner of approaching crisis
4. Level of self confidence
5. Experience
6. Desire for work
7. Beliefs

The mental and physical capacity of a person to face critical situations in life is probably one of
the important personal factors causing stress. Some people are capable of facing any type of
crisis. They have the necessary mental and physical stamina to overcome any kind of pressure.
On the other hand, there are people who do not have the capability to face critical situations. It is
only these people who develop the condition of stress and turn out to be poor job performers.


What is considered a critical situation by some may not be considered as such by others. In fact,
whether a problematic situation has arisen in the organization or not depends upon the perception
of the people who are employed in it. Some people cannot perform any out- of routine work
because they perceive it to be difficult while there are people who are always prepared to accept
any challenge.


How a person approaches his task when there is a crisis is yet another cause of stress. Some
people perform well when there is a critical situation. Even in a cricket match we find players
who play very well in crisis. In fact, there are instances where some cricketers have rescued their
side from a difficult situation by their brilliant performance.

In a critical situation some people become nervous and as a result they are unable to perform


Some people basically lack self-confidence. Needless to say, in a crisis for such people the level
of self-confidence deteriorates further and affects performance. People who have supreme self-
confidence are not likely to undergo stress.


Well experienced employee would have come across difficult situations several times in their
career and therefore are aware of the tactics to be used. They dont breakdown when a crisis
arises. The inexperienced employees, on the other hand, are normally prone to stress conditions


The desire of an employee for the work is another important personal factor. An employee with
the desire for the work is always keen on performing his and only completion of the task will
give him peace and happiness. He finds his work a pleasurable activity and therefore does not
develop any stress condition. It is only those employees who find their work a burden are more
susceptible to stress.


An employee who firmly beliefs that systematic work will pay rich dividends does feel the work
pressure and there is not likely to experience stress. On the other hand, an employee who does
not believe in systematic work may have to strain much towards the end and as a result may
undergo stress due to work pressure.


These organizational factors causing stress include, among others, the following:

1. Nature of job.
2. Superior subordinate relationships
3. Inter personal relationships
4. Target to be reached
5. Time pressure
6. Physical working conditions
7. Opportunities for advancement
8. Hours of work
9. Disparity in pay and other benefits
10. Biased assessment of performance
11. Greater responsibilities
12. Punitive measures like demotion, suspension etc.
Let us discuss these now

An employee who has to face greater challenges in his job, almost on a daily basis, undergoes
stress often. It may not be so in case of employees doing routine / repetitive work. In this
context, it may be mentioned that sales representatives and labour offers face stress conditions
more often than cashiers and accountants do.


A cordial superior subordinate relationship is essential for the smooth functioning of any
organization. If the superiors adopt a friendly approach in their dealings with the subordinate
staff and are prepared to offer a kind of help, the subordinates working under such superiors are
not likely to experience stress. If, on the other hand, the superiors are hostile in their approach
and are always keen on finding fault, the subordinates are sure to undergo stress conditions.


Another organizational factor contributing to stress is the existence of strained relationships

among the employees. Inter personal relationships get strained due to unresolved conflicts.
Such strained relationships affect co-operation and teamwork and also make the work
environment unpleasant. The unpleasant environment affects the morale of the employees and
finally leads to stress conditions.


An employee who is not able to attain the target set for him either because the target is
unreasonable or he is ill equipped or the internal and external forces are not conductive he
develops frustration. If the same trend continues he is sure to develop stress conditions.


This is the extension of the previous point. The target to be attained by an employee is always
with reference to a time-frame. As the deadline, within which the work has to be completed,
approaches fast the work pressure increases. If the employee is unable to cope with work
pressure he develops mental and / or physical stress.

The existence of improper working conditions may also contribute to job stress. By improper
working conditions we mean absence of physical facilities like lighting, ventilation, drinking
water, toilets, etc. poor working conditions affect both the physical and mental health of the


When an employee is deprived of the opportunities to move to higher positions due to politics in
workplace, he is sure to get disappointed. The feeling that his credentials are ignored haunts his
mind. Such an employee has every chance of developing mental stress.


If the hours of work are too long and/or the employee is made to work continuously without the
required interval breaks, he is sure to become tired physically as well as mentally. If such a trend
continues it is enough reason for the employees to undergo stress.


In some organizations there is often disparity in the payment of remuneration among employees.
For the same type of jobs, some employees may be paid more while others may be paid less.
Similarly, there may be discrimination in extending certain benefits among employees like leave,
medical facilities etc. such discrimination gives scope for ill-feelings among employees and
becomes a cause for mental stress.


Evaluating the performance of the human resources is an integral part of HR management. A

number of crucial decisions pertaining to an employee pay fixation, payment of allowances,
training, promotion, transfer and even termination of service, are based on his performance
appraisal reports.
When the element of bias creeps in the process of performance appraisal (discrimination in
assessment on the ground of religion, caste, sex, personal likes, and dislikes of the superior), it
would certainly affect the career prospects of the employee. This would lead to stress conditions.


Some superior expect too much out of their subordinates. They give their subordinates
responsibilities without requisite authority. As a result, the subordinate will be able to carry out
their tasks. This leads to frustration and gives scope for stress.


Demotion (when an employee is assigned a job lower in grade compared to his present job),
suspension, etc., are used as a measure of punishment against those employees shirking duties or
showing indifference. If, even for small offences, severe punishments are given, it would affect
the employees psychologically it is, therefore, important that any such punitive measures are
adopted only as a last resort.


Having discussed various causes of stress, let us now discuss its consequences. Ann employee
undergoing excessive stress may face certain physical and psychological problems as stated


1. Headache
2. Hyper-tension
3. Lack of appetite
4. Sleeplessness
5. Indigestion


1. Frustration
2. Emotional instability
3. Nervousness and tension
4. Anxiety
5. Irritable mood
6. Chronic worry
7. Depression


Certain Behavioral changes may also take place in the individual undergoing excessive stress.
These include:

1. Excessive smoking
2. Abuse of alcohol or drugs
3. Late coming
4. Absenteeism
5. Tendency to neglect safety precautions
6. Tendency to pick up quarrels frequently with superiors an fellow-workers
7. Decline in performance


The enterprise may have to face several problems in view of the stress conditions of its
employees. These include:

1. Low productivity
2. Low quality output
3. Loss of man-hours
4. Excessive complaints and grievances
5. High rate of absenteeism
6. High rate of labor turnover
7. Increase in conflicts
8. Strained inter-personal relationships

There are basically three approaches to stress management:

1. Prevent
2. Escape
3. Cope

Prevention of stress involves the adoption of certain measures as mentioned below:

1. Assignment of work according to each individuals capabilities

2. Provision of better working conditions
3. Better superior subordinate relationships
4. Better inter- personal relationships
5. Unbiased evaluation of employee performance
6. Maintaining equality and equity in the distribution of work load, etc.

The employees can escape stress by any of the following means:

1. Seeking transfer
2. Opting for voluntary retirement
3. Finding alternative employment, etc.

The employee can cope with stress by adopting any of the following measures:

1. Understanding self ones strengths and weakness

2. Doing the work in a systematic and planned manner
3. Setting a moderate goal
4. Avoiding long hours of work and over time work
5. Avoiding people who cause stress
6. Doing regular physical exercise
7. Maintaining a healthy diet
8. Developing a positive attitude towards life and work


1. What is meant by traditional analysis?

2. What is adult ego?
3. What do you understand by stroking?
4. What is stress?
5. Explain the different levels of self-awareness.
6. Explain life positions in the context of transactional analysis.


1. Explain the relationship between stress and performance

2. Explain the different approaches to managing stress.

3. Explain the personal and organizational factors that cause stress.

4. Discuss the important components of transactional analysis.