CPA - Communication Pattern Analysis Based On The Research Of Eric Berne & D McGregor - CiteHR
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Communication Pattern Analysis (CPA)

Communication is a central activity in most human and organizational transactions. It is a process of transferring information from one entity to another.Ivancevich and Matteson state that “communication among people does not depend on technology but rather on forces in people and their surroundings. It is a process that occurs within people.”



Communication also has behavioral component. Our communication behavior can be based on our personal, social, and human identities.One of the statements emphasizing role of behavior is, “the only means by which one person can influence another is by the behaviors he performs-that is, the communicative exchanges between people provide the sole method by which influence or effects can be achieved.” In other words, daily happenings influence an individual’s communication and vice versa.



Research has shown consistently that a deficiency in communication skills can ruin relationships. The foundation of solid interpersonal skills is not just making oneself heard but also involves an understanding of where other people are coming from.



Communication Patterns are predictable, which are in turn guided by the environment. Individuals have various preferences in regards initiating and responding in interactions. For example: aggressive, passive, and assertive.



Communication Pattern Analysis identifies an individual’s communication habit throwing light on the various styles and means he/she uses while interacting. This self-awareness of one’s communication style/pattern creates good and lasting impressions on others and make another person more comfortable by selecting and emphasizing certain behaviors that fit within one’s personality and resonate with another.



Theoretical basis of the CPA Assessment

1. The reno wned Psychologist Carl Rogers has listed five main categories of feedback. They are listed in the order in which they occur most frequently in daily conversations. Notice that we make judgments more often than we try to understand:

■Evaluative: Making a judgment about the worth, goodness, or appropriateness of the other person's statement.

■Interpretive: Paraphrasing - attempting to explain what the other person's statement means.

■Supportive: Attempting to assist or bolster the other communicator.

■Probing: Attempting to gain additional information, continue the discussion, or clarify a point.

■Understanding: Attempting to discover completely what the other communicator means by her statements.



Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis and Douglas McGregor’s X and Y theory emphasise on the communication patterns of an individual both on and off work. CPA is based on the Ego states of Transaction Analysis and X and Y’s positive and negative communication pattern in Management.

2. Transactional Analysis is a social psychology theory and a methodology to improve communication. It outlines how we have developed and, treat ourselves, how we relate and communicate with others. Berne devised the concept of ego states to help explain how we are made up, and how we relate to others and categorized the ways we think, feel and behave as Parent, Adult, and Child Ego. According to Berne’s Transactional Analysis, the Parent ego is a state in which people behave, feel, and think in response to an unconscious mimicking of how their parents (or other parental figures) acted, or how they interpreted their parent's actions. For example, if a parent is authoritarian in nature and typically embodied by phrases and attitudes starting with 'how to', 'under no circumstances', 'always' and 'never forget' etc the child also tend to use such phrases and develops the attitude of advising and criticizing in the later stage of life because parent is formed by external events and influences upon us as we grow through early childhood.

Adult ego is a state which is most like computer processing information and making predictions absent of major emotions that cloud its operation. 'Adult' is our ability to think and determine action for ourselves, based on received data. The adult in us begins to form at around ten months old, and is the means by which we keep our Parent and Child under control. An individual with adult ego is empathizing and searching in nature where in looking/probing for more information instead of reacting immediately.

Child ego the internal reaction and feelings to external events form the 'Child'. This is the seeing, hearing, feeling, and emotional body of data within each of us. When anger or despair dominates reason, the Child is in control. For example, a person who receives a poor evaluation at work may respond by looking at the floor, and crying or pouting, as they used to when scolded as a child. Conversely, a person who receives a good evaluation may respond with a broad smile and a joyful gesture of thanks. The Child is the source of emotions, creation, recreation, spontaneity and intimacy.

According to Transaction Analysis the communication pattern for Parent, Child and Adult ego are

Parent ego -Physical - angry or impatient body-language and expressions, finger-pointing, patronising gestures, Verbal - always, never, for once and for all, judgmental words, critical words, patronising language, posturing language. In the day to day conversations the unconscious feeling of an individual with Parent ego is “I’m OK, You're NOT OK”. In CPA Assessment, Advising and Criticising is characterised as coming from Parent ego.

Child ego- Physical - emotionally sad expressions, despair, temper tantrums, whining voice, rolling eyes, shrugging shoulders, teasing, delight, laughter, speaking behind hand, raising hand to speak, squirming and giggling. Verbal - baby talk, I wish, I don’t know, I want, I'm going to, I don't care, oh no, not again, things never go right for me, worst day of my life, bigger, biggest, best, many superlatives, words to impress. The unconscious feeling of the Child ego is “I’m Not OK, You're OK”.

Adult ego -Physical - attentive, interested, straight-forward, tilted head, non-threatening and non-threatened. Verbal - why, what, how, who, where and when, how much, in what way, comparative expressions, reasoned statements, true, false, probably, possibly, I think, I realise, I see, I believe, in my opinion.” I’m OK, You’re OK is the unconscious feeling of adult ego. In CPA Assessment, Empathising and Searching is characterised as coming from Adult ego.

Transactional Analysis in Communication Pattern Analysis emphasises on the impact of environment/surrounding on child’s own communication approach during his/her socialization process. For instance – If the child has highly protective parents, he/she is likely to develop communication pattern commensurate with Child ego state even in the adulthood.

3. Douglas McGregor’s X and Y theory is a theory of employee motivation that have been used in human resource management, organizational behavior, organizational communication and organizational development.. According to him under Theory X management relies on coercion, implicit threats, close supervision, and tight controls which results in hostility, purposely low output, and hard-line union demands. The other approach is to be permissive and seek harmony in turn of employees co-operation which results in ever-increasing requests for more rewards in exchange for ever-decreasing work output. So the optimal management approach under theory X would be between the two extremes.

Under Theory Y the Management harnesses the motivational approach of employees. This is due to the assumption that people are self-directed to achieve work objectives if rewards are commensurate with them, it also believes in the concept of participative management when applied to work situation .Empathising and Searching response styles are characteristics communication approach of theory Y.

In CPA Assessment, Advising and Criticising are characterised as coming from Theory X and Empathising and Searching are characterised as coming from Theory Y.

Current Status of Transactional Analysis

Transactional analysis is a social psychology developed by Eric Berne. Over the past four decades Eric Berne's theory has evolved to include applications to psychotherapy, counseling, education, and organizational development.

In psychotherapy, transactional analysis utilizes a contract for specific changes desired by the client and involves the "Adult" in both the client and the clinician to sort out behaviors, emotions and thoughts that prevent the development of full human potential. Transactional analysts intervene as they work with clients in a safe, protective, mutually respectful-OK/OK--- environment to eliminate dysfunctional behaviors and establish and reinforce positive relationship styles and healthy functioning. Transactional analysts are able to use the many tools of psychotherapy, ranging from psychodynamic to cognitive behavioral methods in effective and potent ways.

Counselors, who utilize transactional analysis work contractually on solving "here and now" problems. Counseling work focuses on creating productive problem solving behaviors. Using transactional analysis, counselor's establish an egalitarian, safe and mutually respectful working relationship with their clients. This working relationship provides tools clients can utilize in their day-to-day functions to improve the quality of their lives.

Transactional Analysis is a practical educational psychology that offers a way of transforming educational philosophy and principles into everyday practice. Its concepts concepts provide a flexible and creative approach to understanding how people function and to the connections between human behaviour, learning and education. Teaching them to both teachers and students is a process of empowerment, enhancing effective methods of interaction and mutual recognition.

Transactional Analysis is a powerful tool in the hands of organizational development specialists. Through presenting the basic concepts of transactional analysis and using it as the basic theory to under gird the objectives of their clients, organizational development specialists build a common strategy with which to address the particular needs of organizations and to build a functional relationship, as well as eliminate dysfunctional organizational behaviors.

The CPA Assessment: Characteristics patterns of the four Communication types-

Advising: The advising response is a recommendation that tells the other person what to do or not do. When one is busy thinking of solutions while other person is talking, one cannot listen to what they are saying. While advising, the other person is deprived of the chance to talk through the problem or opportunity. This advising style tends to builds dependency relationship For example: In an organization if the Manager always advises his employees then the employees perform better in the presence of the Manager but fail to perform in the absence of the Manager due to the employees dependency on the Manager. Advisor usually believes that "Everyone should be like me" "I am never wrong" "I've got rights, but you don't”, has difficulty seeing the other person's point of view. Extremes of advising communication style reflects a negative attitude which makes communication pattern a one-way process.

Criticising: The critical response expresses judgement or evaluation that the other person often perceives as a put-down. This style often challenges what people say and why they feel the way they do. While being critical, one is most likely to “get hooked” into negative feelings that will cloud the objectivity and causes false or premature conclusions. Factors that lead to being critical are pressure of time; Difference in the values and ideas between the individuals thus being biased.

Empathising: It is a non-judgmental reply that captures the essential theme and / or feelings expressed. This style reflects a positive attitude, sorts out elements of personal value and goes all the way in making the communication a two-way process. One keeps an open mind by staying out of a judgmental framework, and will focus on what would be useful to do rather than on what is wrong; concentrate on fostering respect, rapport, trust and understanding. Empathy is Encouraging in the sense that the other individual is being attentive, alert and interested to elaborate on their ideas and feelings. Attempting to assist or bolster the other communicator.

Searching: It is attempting to discover completely what the other communicator means by her statements, continue the discussion, or clarify a point. The searching response asks for additional information and gets to the root of the problem. One may want the other person to “ventilate” and thereby express their emotions. Takes the time to question and find out information. Comes up with very informed decisions, equipped with a great deal of facts and information. When it comes to interpersonal relationships, such probing not only helps the other person to ventilate his/ her feelings out, but also helps him to understand the other person’s problem more clearly.

Purpose of the Test



The aim of the assessment is to create self- awareness, to assess the impact of upbringing and understand the influence of environmental factors that give rise to communication habits of the individual.



Test Audience



The CPA assessment is applicable for Adults working or non-working from extensive backgrounds



Applicability of the test



CPA has a wide range of applicability widely used across various fields to gain a better understanding of self and others including personnel selection, individual development, enhancing interpersonal relations, understanding group dynamics, leadership training, executive coaching, student coaching, personal development, marriage counseling, conflict resolution, teamwork, career consultation, organisational climate survey and for research purposes



Multiple Benefits of the Assessment



■Creates self-awareness of the communication patterns of an individual.

■Applicable for both personal and professional communication.

■Helps recognise ambiguities, gaps in the communication system

■Scope for effective communication skills.

■An understanding of varied communication patterns helps ensure smoother flow of information between and within departments

■Identifying individuals with a flair for coaching and people development skills



It is always recommended that for Total analysis of Personality of an individual, one must not rely only on one assessment since that provides a partial view only. Learn to make use of a battery of assessments like FITS based on Carl Jung, 4C’s based on William Marston, CPA – Communication Pattern Analysis based on Eric Berne & Douglas McGregor, BPA – Behaviour Pattern Analysis based on B F Skinner, PPC 20 – People Performance Competency based on Boyatzis, Schroder, Learning Style assessments CARS or PRSE based on David Kolb, Anthony Gregorc, Jean Piaget, Kurt Levin, John Dewey, VAK based on NLP or Multiple Intelligence based on Howard Gardner and others.

Thank you very much for sharing wonderful information about TRANSACTIONAL ANALYSIS - COMMUNICATION.
There are also reference books available written by these authors, which are quite informative.
With profound regards.

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