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Preparing For A New Age: Using A Transactional Analysis Approach For Teaching Interpersonal Communication Skills

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.358.1 - 1.358.5

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Peter J. Biegel

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1161

Preparing for a New Age: Using A Transactional Analysis Approach For Teaching Interpersonal Communication Skills Peter J. Biegel, M.S., N.C.C. Purdue University - Statewide Technology South Bend, Indiana

Abstract The transformation of American industry is well on its way. The impact of corporate downsizing and the desire to regain or capture new markets in the global marketplace have driven companies to reconsider the future roles of staff members. Many who believed that they would prosper in a traditional engineering career now have found that they are ill-prepared to meet the challenges placed upon them in these restructured organizations.

Engineers, not unlike other professionals, lack adequate preparation in what one may consider “soft” or interpersonal skills. Of primary importance are communication skills. More specifically are those used in group or team settings as we find industries moving toward more empowered work groups and Total Quality Management approaches to business. Engineers now find themselves requiring some prowess in group dynamics, understanding roles that members play, and the communication patterns that occur between them.

One means to improve the ability to accurately read communication interchanges and to respond appropriately is to become familiar with the work of Dr. Eric Berne in Transactional Analysis. Berne provides a framework for the analysis of communicational transactions between people based upon the concept of three ego states: Parent, Adult, and Child. His analysis construct utilizes this set of key words to illustrate how individuals are effectively understood when communicating from these separate states.

This paper proposes that through training in interpersonal communication skills from a transactional framework, engineers will be better prepared to effectively determine ego states and more accurately communicate in group interactions. A newly acquired proficiency in these skills will allow engineers to find a comfortable fit, as corporate entities establish their new identity in the global marketplace. Consequently, engineers will be actively contributing to the success of the organization.

I. Introduction In today’s organization, engineers are using their technical skills in less isolation and participating in more diverse work groups. These groups include individuals spanning the entire organization representing technical, production, purchasing, marketing, sales, as well as management personnel. The production line approach to accomplishing tasks is disappearing. Instead, these work groups are performing tasks simultaneously, and individuals work closely together to provide their expertise in a timely manner. This approach has shown great potential in increasing the productivity in problem-solving and enhancing product development.

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Biegel, P. J. (1996, June), Preparing For A New Age: Using A Transactional Analysis Approach For Teaching Interpersonal Communication Skills Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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