The Keys to Hierarchical Dialogue
Provisional Teaching and Supervising Transactional Analyst – O-PTSTA
Different organisational energies
Mission contract (Part A)
Mission contract (Part B)
The Winning Script – the successful Mission Contract
Scripts and dysfunctions
Losing script 1
Losing script 2
les Actualités en Analyse Transactionnelle, nr 119, les Editions AT, July 2006
English Growth and Change for Organizations, 1995 - 2006, ITAA, July 2006
New version, August 20
This article is presenting a psycho dynamic model called the Emerging Change and used in
the Organisational field to help the actors understand the human process and structure the
It describes three different levels of energy active in the organisation :
‣ Planned change,
‣ Emerging change,
These energies are dealt with through three fundamental contracts :
‣ Vision contract,
‣ Mission contract (Part A and Part B),
‣ Cooperation contract.
The article is based on a synthesis between a Constructivist model
by Gelinas and Fortin and
using the diagram described by Fox in his article
. With the
work already done by Gelinas and Fortin I was able to develop a diagram for the integration
and synergy of the three types of energy (Figure 1), and the Three Contracts Methodology
supporting a functional understanding of Berne's Theory of Organisations.
The Emerging Change concept provides a global vision and a regulation of the Human Proc-
ess inside an organisation or a team, leading to increased cooperation and performance. The
Emerging change diagram presenting the three types of change forces within the organisa-
tion can be fitted into Fox's diagram while avoiding a possible confusion with Berne's repre-
sentation of the organisational culture already using the Ego States.
In this article, italics are used to refer to the Emerging Change terms and capitals on the first
letter of the word are used with Transactional Analysis concepts, for which a definition is
given in the end text notes. When some concepts are common to the two disciplines, like
"Environment" and "Activity", it is the Transactional Analysis definition that will be used.
Professional reality as perceived by team members is not automatically the same as the real-
ity of team managers. The illusion that we are "in the same boat" and "we are sailing to-
gether towards a common objective" is sooner or later bound to be revealed. This revelation
may happen over time or suddenly in a stressful period and often generates a crisis in an in-
dividual or in an entire team.
However, the manager and the team can stand together and make their actions coherent
when they develop an on-going dialogue and discuss the modes and content of their interac-
tions. This formal dialogue process ensures that the values, feelings, and needs of everyone
are legitimately accounted for.
I observed that some managers are trained and motivated to manage internal objectives and
to prioritise personal recognition rather than work synergistically with their peers or team
Gelinas, Arthur & Fortin, Regent (1996) : The management of teachers continuous training in Quebec. Ennovation or the Emerging Change.
Berne, Eric (1963) : Structure and Dynamics of Organisations and Groups. Grove Press.
Fox, Elliott : Eric Berne's Theory of Organisations. TAJ nr 8, pp, 148 to 154.
and think that time spent together is time wasted.
At the same time, managers complain that they do not know how to handle some situations
and feel exposed. They hire external experts or consultants to give them help in some areas
where peers and team members could help.
I also observed that team members are often uninformed about strategic directions and are
forced to act in a self-centred way which appears to others to be optimising locally while sub-
optimising the larger structures.
These observations can be summarised in information terms. Information does not freely flow
vertically between different levels in the hierarchy of the organisation. Nor does it flow freely
horizontally. When it does flow it is biased in favour of the source of the information. The at-
tached work is designed to encourage two way unbiased information flow.
3. Elements of the Psycho-dynamic Model
Emerging change is a systemic tool to analyse and correct organisational human processes.
The name emerging change refers to the global human process through which the strategic
elements of an organisation's activity can be aligned on the strategic elements of its envi-
ronment to create optimum structure cohesion. This means that the activity put in place will
fulfil most rapidly and efficiently a request from the environment.
Everyone in all the various structures of an organisation is responsible for this process. Only
one person is not bound by it: the person in charge of the supreme group authority because
he / she has no peers.
3.1. Different organisational energies
Gelinas & Fortin emphasize a polarization between two
in the organisational complex world.
, is the planned energy and the other one, re-
lating to the management of the Activity, is the emerg-
ing energy. A third energy: the Constructivism can be
defined in the here and now, as the dynamic result of
the dialogue between the first two energies and other
elements in presence.
Gelinas & Fortin call the planned energy planned
change and the emerging energy emerging change.
Planned and emerging energies circulate through net-
works of beliefs, feelings and behaviours, which are of
a different nature. The language attached to each of these poles is descriptive of its priorities
and it sometimes seems people at one pole are unintelligible to people at the other.
Fig. 1 – Types of organisational forces
Energy : "what a system owns if it is capable of producing work [...] A vital force capable of bringing change". (Robert dictionary)
Environment, p. 242 : "The universe outside the group space".
Activity, p. 237 : "Purposeful work done by a group on its material".
guage gap between the top down planned change and the bottom up emerging change by
providing a common frame of reference.
I represented these two energies with two arrows (Figure 1), one oriented downwards to
symbolically project the objectives into the system, the other upwards to represent the rais-
ing, through the hierarchical layers, of information concerning the Activity.
Constructivism is here and now the visible parts (Public Structure
) of the company and is
that the structure's constructivism is affected by the interaction of those two arrows as well as
that of other parameters.
From the system's Environment, are drawn the activity
objectives, the goals to be achieved, as well as the sys-
tem's resources. The structure's external boundary de-
velops around the mission
and belonging criteria re-
the system returns to the Environment a product or a
service that will satisfy the demand. (Figure 2)
The two energies are complementary and work in cy-
4. Planned or Emerging Change ?
sometimes uses emerging change when he is working with his peers (the other managers), to
establish or implement the mission contract
. Only the group authority is not emergent. All
the name emerging change given to this whole social dynamics (Figure 3).
4.1. Planned Change
represents the energy of decision making and planning of the organisational process. It is the
group authority in action. This energy finds its legitimacy in the notion of persistence. It is
focused on the management of the Environment, aligning the structure on the external stra-
tegic elements, which keep the structure alive by giving it its purpose.
The arrow of planned change symbolically represents the synergy of the decision makers of
all the internal structures of a system. Each structure – in the person of its leader – has one
element of planned change.
/ her. Anyone uses planned energy when individually making an operational decision in rela-
tion with the objective (Example: use this machine rather than that one).
In his role of the person in charge of planned change, the Leader, is responsible to manage
Fig. 2 – Cycle of organisational forces
Madeleine Laugeri – Emerging Change 4
Ibid., p. 249. Public structure : "The individual and the organisational structures which are open to public observation. Individual structure: the
Gioanm Pierre (1960) : Dictionnaire usuel. Quillet, Flammarion. "Job given to a person or a group to accomplish a definite task.".
The Mission contract is an on-going dialogue around the elaboration of the Public Structure. The Vision contract is an on-going dialogue about
all the planned objectives and their prioritisation. The Cooperation contract is an on-going dialogue between team members around the tasks
The vision contract covers all planned objectives and their prioritisation.
The manager collects information to be able to decide on the strategic
elements of the Environment (versus non strategic). I.e. the leader must
be able to discriminate – in the complexity of all that surrounds the sys-
tem – the key-elements from which he / she will work out his objectives.
The Environment is external and internal
In the external Environment (external boundary), in an often unstable
‣ the Market, customers, competitors, suppliers, the political and economical situation, social
In the internal Environment (major and minor internal boundaries) the following elements can
‣ one or more leader's senior managers,
‣ the colleagues who hold influence or useful resources for the achievement of objectives.
‣ the manager's peers and everyone in the organization who do not belong to his own struc-
Based on the information collected about these elements and according to the subsequent
tives, holding into account today's internal and external reality.
The mission contract is in two parts. It ensures there is an on-
going dialogue around the continuous development of an agreed
Public Structure (Figure 4). This structure is the resource needed
to operationally fulfil the vision contract.
In parallel with the development of objectives, the overall Leader
is responsible to set up a process, which will allow for the opera-
tions to achieve this overall task.
) actors at the same time. This step aims at making the objectives known (top
ganisation chart, thus allowing the Manager to make the decisions that set all the actors in
the optimum working conditions.
To this end, the leader makes a request to the team for consensual proposals relating to the
task distribution and strategy, which they recommend. Then, a negotiation takes place be-
tween his / her vision and theirs within the mission contract framework.
This step is based on the ethical values of the manager (unconditional support of the struc-
ture and co-operation) – and aims to guarantee effectiveness in the activity, and pleasure in
Fig. 3 – The Leader
Fig. 4 – The Leader and group members
Berne, Eric (1963) : Structure and Dynamics of Organisations and Groups. Grove Press, p. 58.
Ibid., p. 238. The organs that ensure the survival of a group.
the leader's (mission contract A) and the group member's (mission contract B) points of view.
4.2. Emerging Change
Emerging change represents the energy of sharing and implementing activities as required by
planned change. Emerging change is focused on the most professional possible achievement
of the overall task. Herein lies the love for the work, which is the heart of the company and
the reason why it exists.
The emerging change arrow symbolically represents the synergy of the team members of all
the internal structures of a system connected to each other when achieving the activity. Each
structure holds an element of the emerging change in the person who achieves the activity.
Just as there are strategic elements of the Environment, described above and dealt with by
The Activity strategic elements are the external and internal circumstances within the de-
partment, the events (absences, diseases, conflicts, level of competence, breakdowns of ma-
chines, non delivery of supplies, and also geographic, historic situation of the team or the
activity), all the elements, which condition the success of the task from day to day. The
more the team are informed about each other, their system and their professional field and
the better they will manage these elements. Yet, part of these elements are not visible by the
manager and thus their importance tends to be discounted by the actors.
Emerging Change is different from planned change, where in the last count, only one person
actually makes a decision. Emerging Change "emerges" from the vision of each and every
team member of what is necessary for the success of his own segment of the overall activity.
When these visions do not get duly processed and prioritized in a consensual manner, the
from the various actors or categories of actors and may be disturbed in his / her ability to
make relevant decisions.
The team member uses emerging energy when he / she is consulting peers within the mission
emerging energy through the use of two contracts: cooperation contract and mission contract
In the same way as individuals sometimes may not feel
responsible for what is going on in their life, and impute
things to chance, some teams are not empowered to deal
with their daily issues and place unrealistic expectations
on their leader. Through the cooperation contract the ac-
tors empower their team to become responsible for solv-
ing the difficulties that can be solved at their level.
They develop within the team dialogue modalities allowing
Fig. 5 – The group members
The author differentiates between Cooperation relationships taking place between peers and Collaboration relationships taking place between
The team is then charged to collect and prioritize
only relevant information reaches the leader. It guarantees the development of an organisa-
tional structure, which will make it possible to reach and maintain results.
The cooperation contract implies that everyone considers human relations a priority and, be-
yond hats and titles, is prepared to set aside personal considerations in order to optimise the
whole organisation. It is through this unconditional solidarity within a team that they manifest
their respect of their leader's values (structure unconditional support and co-operation). Well-
defined cooperation contracts guarantee structure cohesion.
The cooperation contract requires a high level of personal autonomy, confidence in one's
own competence, the competence of peers, the sharing of vulnerabilities, and the pleasure of
sharing the common activity doing quality work. It is due to the mission contract that contri-
butions to the vision emerge in a consensual dialogue making the whole larger than the sum
of its parts.
4.2.2. Mission contract (Part B)
This is the second part of the mission contract concerning the agreement about the interac-
tion modalities with the leader. The needs in the hierarchical relationship from the subordi-
nates point of view are expressed here. Due to this part of the contract the actors are em-
powered in the hierarchical dialogue and establish an OK / OK relationship with their leader:
they are empowered to "emerge" with their contribution to the Mission (task distribution,
strategy) reflecting a non-scripty reality of the activity status. When this contract is in place,
they will be credible partners in a satisfactory dialogue for both parts
The schools of Constructivism are many and the
object of this article is not to expose this theory
in detail but it seems interesting to recall the
many bonds between Constructivism and
Transactional Analysis. Berne himself was di-
rectly inspired by Cyberneticians and in particu-
lar by Norbert Wiener and Gregory Bateson
Constructivism is what can be socially observed
constructed" by the actors and is a result of
their interactions. At social level, it is manifested
by the Public Structure as described by Berne
(what can be seen from the outside).
According to Peter Drucker
each and every action taken by individuals is in the context of
when each theory of the business is more or less aligned with the others that the organisation
Fig. 6 – The Keys to Hierarchical Dialogue
Madeleine Laugeri – Emerging Change 7
This does not mean that everyone should be consulted all the time about all situations. It means that the team has agreed on a process allowing
Berne, Eric (1963) : Structure and Dynamics of Organisations and Groups. Grove Press, p. 99.
Drucker, Peter (1968) : The practice of management. Pan Books Ltd, p.167.
ethical and aesthetic considerations.
At the psychological level, the Public Structure includes the Individual Structure
. One can observe the way the jobs boxes on the organisational chart are "inhabit-
, i.e. how the actual actors live and manage the activity (motivation for task, sickness,
When the three contracts (vision, mission and cooperation) are dealt with adequately, planned
effectively the same and relevant. Environment AND Activity strategic elements are then
4.4. The Winning Script – the successful Mission Contract
In the winning scenario, the leader's values are explicit. They are relevant and in line with the
Canon and the Culture. Contracted rules frame the on-going dialogue between the members
of the groups and their managers. The leader gets a consensual contribution from his subor-
dinates into the group process. A dialogue exists around the structure of the system, which
guarantees the communication of unbiased information on the strategic aspects of the Activ-
ity as well as on those of the Environment (Figure 3).
Madeleine Laugeri – Emerging Change 8
Berne, Eric (1963) : Structure and Dynamics of Organisations and Groups. Grove Press, p. 249.
Ibid. Private structure : "The group imago of each member.".
Ibid., p. 57 : "While it is useful to try to understand what a structural diagram might represent, it must always be remembered that this is only
a preparation for meeting real people participating in real transactions.".
and Laws – Name
(Ideology / Cohesion)
- Provisional (ritual)
- Adaptive (pass-time)
- Operative (games)
- Secondary (intimacy)
The concepts of Environment and Activity
, around which the polarisation Planned / Emerg-
Authority column (Leadership and Canon) and in the columns of Group Members and Group
Work, the Planned and Emerging arrows can be placed and ideally they meet in a social dia-
logue at the level of the Public Structure box.
As the Group Authority Column is covering the Leadership and Canon, it can be deducted
that leaders are in charge – amongst other responsibilities – of the Vision Contract (develop-
ing objectives and a Constitution) and of the Mission Contract (put a structure in place and
rules of conduct).
As the Group Members column, together with the Group Work, are covering the notions of
Individual and Private Structures, one can suppose that people's experience in sharing the
Activity, is the group member's responsibility, and can be analysed and structured. Conse-
quently the Cooperation contract can be placed in these columns.
Ibid., p. 243. Environment : "The universe outside the group space.".
Fig. 7 – Fox's Diagram
My research revealed two common types of dysfunctions, which I call losing script 1 and los-
comes visible in the contracts analysis (Passivity
6.1. Losing script 1
made without taking into account the demands, opportunities and constraints in the Envi-
ronment – and / or in the mission contract (A) : planned change's authority and responsibilities
are overlooked. Agitation
endangers the leader's performance. The survival of the structure
Case 1 : In an industrial private research centre, scien-
tists focus their research on what enriches their science
seldom connecting their work to the improvement of a
product. They represent an important cost and rarely
do they provide a proportional return of investment.
Therefore the system's survival may be threatened.
Case 2 : In a crisis, some foremen refuse to collaborate
with a manager who has been imposed on them after
restructuring. They criticise the management in front of
their clients and their subordinates. This leads to a
chaotic task execution. The organisation looses credit
in the customer’s eyes.
Case 3 : Two conflicting managers have started building their own structure independently so
as not to have to interact anymore. Several activities are duplicated,others have disappeared
and this leads to tensions between the collaborators and with customers at several activity
levels. The group energy is wasted managing the conflict. The top management is penalised
in their decision making process because the strategic information comes up in a partial and
thus manipulatory way.
Fig. 8 – Losing script 1
Stewart, Ian & Joines, Van (1991) : TA Today. Russel Press, p. 173. Passivity : "How people do not do things or do not do them effectively.".
Ibid., p. 238. Agitation : "The collective strength of active individual proclivities.".
In losing script 2, there may be problems in the cooperation contract: decisions and strategies
are made without taking into account the demands, opportunities and constraints in the Ac-
tivity – and / or in the mission contract (B) the manager discounts the need to consult with the
team or the team is not ready to contribute consensually to the development of the organisa-
The manager still needs to plan and so decides instead of them what is relevant for the suc-
cess of the Activity
. Unfortunately he may not have knowledge of some the elements of Ac-
this type of imbalance occurs.
The two loosing scripts can be brought together as for example when script 2 can be ob-
served, at social level, one can be confronted to a fantasy of script 1 at psychological level in
the leader's mind, i.e. he leads with the fear to be overwhelmed by the group. Conversely, in
script No1, the actors may believe that their leader is threatening their survival in the system
or the survival of the system itself.
Case 1 : In an IT company, a European Training Man-
ager demands to have 300 student manuals made im-
mediately for his manager’s visit in one of the local
training centres. On the day he gives the order two of
the local people are sick and three photocopiers are
broken. Since there was no way to negotiate the dead-
line and with these two elements of the task missing,
the extraordinary pressure was demotivating for the
innovative products hired me because of on going con-
flicts between the foremen. Few employees mastered
the new technology so the factory manager had posted experts to report about problems and
issues on the production lines. The emerging energy was short circuited because the experts
were reporting directly to the factory Manager instead of the employees to the foremen, the
foremen to the Production Manager and the Production Manager to the Factory Management
team. The foremen had lost their privilege of collecting, prioritising and reporting the strategic
people were fighting.
Presented with the emerging change concept, the teams were able to situate the problem at
the mission contract level and how this affected their cooperation contract. It was negotiated in
the mission contract that the experts would talk to the foremen first and that the foremen
would collect and prioritise the information for the Head of Production who would attend the
Management meetings with the experts. The information circuit went back to normal. So did
the stroke economy and the conflicts ceased.
Fig. 9 – Losing script 2
Madeleine Laugeri – Emerging Change 11
Gilles Pellerin, TSTA-O calls "Sous-fonction" literally "below the function" the situation in which the leader inappropriately invests his energy
Installing Emerging Change in a research centre.
Roughly 400 scientists belonging to several disciplines, and in different departments of the
same organisation (immunologists, nutritionists, microbiologists and gastro-enterologists),
were grouped into several “platforms” (Gut, Skin, Brain, Bones). The idea of introducing plat-
forms was to encourage cooperation and to work more effectively and thus to produce more
Upon her appointment, the Gut platform manager asked us to help stimulate the Gut plat-
form which had been stagnant for two years in an example of losing scenario 2 where
Planned Change is dominant. We taught her how to use our Psycho Dynamic Theory and to
identify how the Emerging change was not playing its part. We clarified what was her role as
the planned change manager to enable a balanced situation and to give emerging change an
The platform idea gathered scientists in a space free from hierarchical reporting. Its correct
operation requires changes in the current system of evaluation, which is presently made
mainly on scientific results and the number of individual publications. The contracts are set
up via a person in the Human Resources Department, who also manages the interventions of
My work consisted of supporting scientists from two departments: Nutrition and Bioscience,
and the establishment of cooperation contracts at several levels. This work allowed the GUT
organisational platform to achieve the goals with consensual contribution and allowed the
culture to evolve from individualism to cooperation. Emergent Change was enabled.
Fig. 10 – Innovation of emerging change methodology in a research centre
‣ Vision Contract: How are the objectives and rules understood and perceived by the scien-
tists ? In this context, where the vision was expressed in a very « planned » language,
coaching the Vision Contract consisted in looking for blocs in the integration of the mes-
sage et ended up leading to renewed presentations of short, middle and long term objec-
tives at different levels of the organisation.
‣ Cooperation Contracts : The were installed in each of the relevant departments at each hi-
erarchical levels : technicians with each other, scientists of different disciplines gathered in
the same platform, and Mrs I with her peers, the other platform managers. the work con-
sisted in identifying working values to ensure the success of this new process.
‣ Mission Contracts : Part A was developed in the individual coaching sessions with Mrs I.:
This consisted in helping her clarify and express her needs in her interaction with her sub-
ordinates, i.e how she wanted the strategic elements of the Activity and the related sugges-
tions and recommendations to be communicated to her.
Part B : with the different teams after the cooperation contract was operational. This was
about helping them to agree on expectations in their interactions with their manager. Mrs I
lead the Mission contract negotiations (between A and B) alone with her team. The im-
provement of results was visible and soon after this, Mrs I was promoted as Manager of her
This consulting work reassured people and helped change the culture from a strongly indi-
vidualistic to a more cooperative environment: after the intervention some scientists started
sharing their vision for common potential research. According to the scientific relevance and
the possible outcomes of each of their projects, they were able to formulate consensual rec-
ommendations concerning the choice of projects and the platform strategy.
Because the platform gathers scientists in a space free of hierarchical reporting, this new or-
ganisation may demand that a change be negotiated in the performance evaluation system,
which is presently based on scientific results and the number of publications, to modalities of
evaluation discussed and agreed between the scientists and their management.
The psychodynamic Theory of Emerging Change gives a global vision of the human process
of each structure within the organisation. It is accessible to all categories of actors, and ad-
dresses them in a challenging manner. It gives them a representation of the organisational
dynamics and stimulates the installation of contracts resulting in an empowered organisation.
Therefore, it quickly allows for the development of the managers, actors and teams to have
The work presented here on the Emerging Change Methodology allows for a concrete visual
representation of the group dynamics based on an OK / OK difference in values, strategies
and feelings between the planned and emerging energies. Inserted in Fox's diagram, it com-
plements it in emphasising the two organisational flows and their interaction resulting in the
on-going development of the Public Structure.
It gives the actors access to tools from Berne's Organisational Theory and Transactional
Analysis in general.