The History of DISC Profiling
DISC is the four quadrant behavioral model based on the work of William Moulton Marston PhD (1893–1947) to examine the behavior of individuals in their environment or within a specific situation (otherwise known as environment). It therefore focuses on the styles and preferences of such behavior.
Marston graduated from doctoral studies at Harvard in the newly developing field of psychology and was also a consulting psychologist, researcher, and author or co-author of five books. His works were showcased in Emotions of Normal People in 1928. among others.
In 1948, Walter V. Clarke established his new business, Walter V. Clarke and Associates, to utilize the years of development and research he had undertaken after listening to a lecture at Harvard by Prescott Leckey which postulated that it was possible with a high degree of accuracy to determine and predict the long term behavior of an individual based upon a set of questions. Working with Marston, he was able to name four vectors of behavior, namely Assertiveness, Sociability,
Tranquility, and Dependence, and the means to identify the relative propensity of individuals to behave according to these predictive scales.
This system of dimensions of observable behavior has become known as the universal language of behavior. Researchhas found that characteristics of behavior can be grouped into these four major "personality styles" and they tend to exhibit specific characteristics common to that particular style. All individuals possess all four, but what differs from one to another is the extent of each.
For most, these types are seen in shades of grey rather than black or white, and within that, there is an interplay of behaviors, otherwise known as blends. The denotation of such blends starts with the primary (or stronger) type, followed by the secondary (or lesser) type, although all contribute more than just purely the strength of that "signal".
Having understood the differences between these blends makes it possible to integrate individual team members with less troubleshooting. In a typical team, there are varying degrees of compatibility, not just toward tasks but interpersonal relationships as well. However, when they are identified, energy can be spent on refining the results. Each of these types has its own unique value to the team, ideal environment, general characteristics, what the individual is motivated by, and value to team.
DISC is also used in an assortment of areas, including by many companies, HR professionals, organizations, consultants, coaches and trainers.
The assessments classify four aspects of behavior by testing a person's preferences in word associations (compare with Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). DISC is an acronym for:
Dominance – relating to control, power and assertiveness
Influence – relating to social situations and communication
Steadiness - (submission in Marston's time) – relating to patience, persistence, and thoughtfulness
Compliance - (or caution, compliance in Marston's time) – relating to structure and organization