A detailed model of a transaction processing system with dynamic locking is developed and analyzed. Transaction classes are distinguished on the basis of the number of data items accessed and the access mode 1990. The performance of the system is affected by transaction blocking and restarts, due to lock conflicts that do not or do cause deadlocks, respectively. The probability of these events is determined by the characteristics of transactions and the database access pattern. Hardware resource contention due to concurrent transaction processing is taken into account by specifying the throughput characteristic of the computer system for processing transactions when there is no data contention. A solution method based on decomposition is developed to analyze the system, and also used as the basis of an iterative scheme with reduced computational cost. The analysis to estimate the probability of lock conflicts and deadlocks is based on the mean number of locks held by transactions. These probabilities are used to derive the state transition probabilities for the Markov chain specifying the transitions among the system states. The decomposition solution method and the associated iterative scheme are shown to be more accurate than previously defined methods for dynamic locking through validation against simulation results. Several important conclusions regarding the behavior of dynamic locking systems are derived from parametric studies. © 1990, ACM. All rights reserved.