A Short Introduction to the DiSC Model of Behaviour

Throughout history people have attempted to explain the differences among people. The earliest recorded efforts were rather crude. With more recent advances in research and our expanded knowledge of psychology, a number of more sophisticated models of human behaviour have evolved. Interestingly enough, many of these models have one characteristic in common: the grouping of behaviour into four categories.


The earliest credible model dates back to Greek and Roman times. Hippocrates was the most notable of these historical figures to utilize this four-factor model. However the concept was also mentioned by Aristotle and others in the Greek era and, most notably, by Galen in the Roman era. These notable individuals believed that the differences in behaviour were caused by variations in the relative quantities of our bodily fluids. They referred to the four temperaments as Choleric (yellow bile), Sanguine (blood), Phlegmatic (phlegm) and Melancholic (black bile). This terminology is still used by some writers today, especially by religious educators. There is also evidence of an awareness of four types of behavior in ancient Hebrew writings.

More Recent Times

In more recent times such respected scholars as Immanual Kant, Hans Eysenck and William James wrote about similar four-factor models of human behaviour. Perhaps the best known of such modern scholars was Carl Jung. Jung’s classic book, Psychological Types, written in 1923 was the first sophisticated, scientific account of this theory. The popularity, which Jung enjoyed, led to and increased interest in the topic of personality types. His work, which describes the Sensor, Feeler, Thinker and Intuitor, forms the basis for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and other works dealing with temperament and personality types.

William Moultan Marston

The book, Emotions of Normal People, published by William Moulton Marston in the 1920’s forms the theoretical basis DiSC Model for the DiSC® Model of Behaviour and the most recent DiSC® Classic Profile. Unlike Jung, Marston was not concerned with categorizing people into psychological types; rather he focussed on categorizing behaviour into four types. He theorized that effective people would behave in a manner consistent with the demands and expectations of the environment.

This implies that a person’s behaviour will vary from one situation to another even though each person may have a core behaviour which is most natural and comfortable for that person. On the basis of Marson’s original research, Dr. John Geier developed an instrument called the Personal Profile System in the 1960’s. He conducted further research to refine Marston’s model and to determine the unique Classical Profile Patterns which are based upon combinations of the various behavioural styles.

DiSC® Today – a plan to understand self and others

All of us have developed behavioural patterns: distinct ways of thinking, feeling, and acting. The central core of our patterns tends to remain stable because it reflects our individual identities. However, the demands of the work environment often require different responses that evolve into a work behavioural style.

The DiSC® Classic Profile

The DiSC® Classic Profile presents a plan to help you understand self and others in a specific environment. You are the central focus as you heighten understanding of your style and identify the environment most conducive to your success. At the same time, you learn about the differences of others and the environment they require for maximum productivity and harmony in the work organization.

The DiSC® model identifies four dimensions of normal behaviour:

  • Dominance: People with a high “D” behavioural tendency seek to shape their environment by overcoming opposition to accomplish results.
  • Influence: People with a high “i” behavioural tendency seek to shape their environment by influencing or persuading others.
  • Steadiness: People with a high “S” behavioural tendency seek to cooperate with others to carry out their tasks.
  • Conscientiousness: People with a high “C” behavioural tendency seek to work within existing circumstances to ensure quality and accuracy.

There are 2041 possible combinations of these four dimensions of behaviour when plotted on the 7-segment DiSC® Classic graph. Human behaviour is complex and we are each unique. But an understanding of each of the four dimensions and the intensity each plays out in our personal style can go a long way toward building successful relationships at work and at home.

Toward a more successful work style

DiSC® Classic is not a test. You cannot pass or fail. There isn’t a best pattern. Research evidence supports the conclusion that the most effective people are those who know themselves, know the demands of the situation, and adapt strategies to meet those needs. In summary, DiSC® Classic enables you to:

  • Identify your work behavioral style
  • Create the motivational environment most conducive to success
  • Increase you appreciation of different work styles
  • Identify and minimize potential conflicts with others

So using DiSC is a vital tool to helping you to understand communication and how to improve communication. Go on, get your assessment today and see your communication skills increase.

This article was written with grateful thanks to http://www.teamapproach.com for the technical background and information

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