problems solved quickly, assertively, actively.
Gets to the bottom-line quickly.
problems solved in a controlled, organized way.
Thinks before acting.
Influence: Approach to
Meets new people in an outgoing, talkative
manner. Gregarious and emotional.
Meets new people in a quiet, controlled,
reserved manner. Emotionally controlled.
Steadiness: Approach to
Prefers a controlled, deliberate work
environment. Values security of situation.
Prefers a flexible, dynamic, changeable
environment. Values freedom of expression.
Conscientiousness: Approach to
Likes things done 'the right way,' and says,
"Rules are made to be followed."
Works independently of the procedures and says,
"Rules are made to be bent or broken."
Extraversion: Orientation to the
world around us: Outer world, with others, or
inner world with self.
Sensing -- Intuition:
Ways of perceiving or gathering information:
Real and actual, or looking at patterns and
Thinking -- Feeling:
Decision-making based on careful analysis, or
consideration of the impact on others.
Judging -- Perceiving:
Dealing with outer world in orderly, planned
manner; or in a spontaneous, flexible manner.
Both the DISC instrument and the
MBTI® (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) are widely used
and accepted in thousands of organizations around
the world. Since DISC has grown at an enormous pace
over the past two decades, the two instruments may
be tied for the number of instruments sold annually.
Since DISC instruments are provided through at least
a dozen vendors, the specific numbers of instruments
used are more difficult to track.
Some type of four-dimensional
model of behavior has been in existence since about
400 BC with Empodocles (air, earth, fire, and
water), Hippocrates (sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic,
and melancholic), Galen in 170 AD, Carl Jung in 1921
(thinking, feeling, sensing, and intuiting), and
William Marston in 1928 (Dominance, Inducement,
Steadiness, and Compliance). Currently there are
over a dozen DISC-type models in the marketplace,
and since the DISC concept is in the public domain,
other iterations may continue to emerge.
What each of the DISC models have
in common is that they attempt to describe
observable behavior, that is, HOW
someone does what they do. If you are a salesperson,
how do you sell? Do you sell as a high
or low D, I, S, or C, or most likely, a combination
thereof? If you are a manager, how do
you manage? As a D, I, S, or C, or a combination?
Both DISC and MBTI have a wide
recognition and acceptance in the marketplace. MBTI
gained initial recognition from the academic
community and has maintained a presence both in
academe and in the business arena. The DISC model
has grown faster over the past thirty years, and
with current research projects, it is gaining
attention in the academic community with a number of
doctoral dissertations exploring the range of the
The DISC model has been of
enormous benefit in determining the HOW of our behavioral choices or style preferences.
These uses include coaching, placement, management,
team-building, and numerous other practical uses.
The DISC model is not a personality test. It
explores four traits within our personality, but the
term 'personality' goes far beyond the amplification
of four behavioral traits. As a result, relatives of
this four dimensional model have been called: Type,
Style, Preferences, and many other terms related to
components of personality. However, most of the
models avoid the use of the word 'personality.'
The DISC model itself is
one of the most widely used non-clinical behavioral
instruments in the marketplace, and it has gained
wide acceptance in the US, Europe, Australia, New
Zealand, and South Africa. Its success comes in
large part from its ease of use and interpretation
as well as the memorable and pronounceable name,
When we've asked people who have
taken both DISC and MBTI to recall their style or
type about six months after taking the instruments,
responses differ. Those taking the DISC will usually
say, "Oh, I'm a High D," or "Sure, I'm a High I."
Many who have taken the MBTI six months ago will
say, "I can't remember all of it, but I think it's
'E-' something." Therein one difference: DISC
terminology is more memorable for many people.
MBTI has advertised in the past as
"the most widely used personality inventory in the
world," although many DISC experts claim that the
combined sales of DISC instruments has now surpassed
sales of MBTI. MBTI specifically uses the words
"personality type," which are terms that DISC
vendors usually avoid.
The MBTI brings some advantages to
the marketplace: There is an extensive research base
and many academic studies that have used the
instrument. It has broad-based acceptance in the
academic arena and widespread support therein. It is
relatively inexpensive to use in paper form.
When asked which one is best, the
answer depends on the needs of the client. When
asked how they are different, the answer can be
distilled to this: The MBTI illuminates ways of
thinking and dealing with information
internally. That is, how we think about
the world around us. DISC illuminates one's
observable behavioral style, that is, HOW we do
what we do, i.e., our actions.
We could ask a sales manager: What
is most important for you to know about your
salespeople? What they think about
internally, or how they behave
when they sell your products? We could ask a
customer service manager: What is most important for
you to know about your personnel? What they think
about internally, or how they interact with
If the answers tend toward a
preference for the knowledge of how
the personnel interact with others, then the DISC
instrument may be the instrument of choice.
Additionally, when MBTI users are given a sample
DISC report of their own, the choice may become
clear. A client would need to purchase three or
four different MBTI computer reports to gain the
same information contained in one DISC report, and
spend many times the cost of a single DISC report.
This is important information for your clients to
The information provided above is
the opinion of the author, Russell J. Watson, Ed.D.
There may be other researchers who may disagree. It
is offered in an open information manner to be
shared with others.
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