William Moulton Marston (1893-1947) was originally a lawyer and psychologist born in Cliftondale in Massachussets. His noteworthy professional achievements include the first ever lie detector polygraph and the ‘DISC’ model, and the wonder woman comic. Marston was a physiological psychologist by qualification. One of his significant contributions to behavioral psychology is the book ‘Emotions of normal people.’ He was particularly interested in the behaviors of the general population rather than the pathology of psychology. He gained popularity through his polygraph device and obtained the approval of the federal government for his research. Further, his discovery was widely used in the legal system.
Marston’s DISC model: Marston was constantly fascinated by the emotions and behaviors of the normal population. He detailed his theory on people’s emotions in his book ‘Emotions of normal people.’ He explains that normal human emotions trajectories lead to behavioral differences among various categories of people. He even elaborated that a person’s emotions and behavior may change with time. He concentrated on directly psychological occurrences that could easily be observed and measured. He wanted to develop a comprehensive guide to allow people to understand their emotions and improvise interpersonal relationships. He related that every individual had individual and unique perceptions of self in an environment. Based on this, Marston categorized people into four basic personality types namely Dominance (D), Inducement (I), Submission (S), and Compliance (C).
Development of DISC as a tool: Based on Marston’s theories, an industrial psychologist named Walter V. Clarke, first built the assessment tool. He developed an instrument where individuals had to choose the behaviors they found true of themselves. He intended this as a tool for recruitment of personnel in businesses. He used four important factors in his data (aggressive, sociable, stable, and avoidant). These parameters were based on Marston’s DISC principle.
Almost a decade later, this instrument was modified. The participants were restricted to choose from two or more alternatives. This modification strengthened the DISC profile. The modified version was named Self Discription. John Geier created the personal profile system (PPS) based on the principles of Self Discription. He explained the 15 behavioral patterns identified by Clarke in a more detailed manner. An improvement to this was provided by Inscape publishing in terms of increased reliability. Redundant items were removed and new items were added to enhance the efficiency of the test; it was published in 1994 as PPS 2800 Series. Its major purpose was to provide an insight to individuals about their behavior and use it to understand themselves and others in a given environment. It was a self-interpretation tool which was exhaustive and provided detailed analysis of an individual’s behavior with relation to the environment they were in. It was most useful in allowing individuals to focus on building capacities and be mindful of the reasons behind their behavior. Now, this tool is known as DiSC Classic. An online version of DiSC Classic is DiSC Classic 2.0, which provides a detailed narrative analysis and feedback on each of the four parameters along with explaining the characteristic types of each individual.
Everything DiSC: This was launched in 2007 by Inscape Publishing. It was a value addition to DiSC. The feedback on this tool was exceptionally personalized, and was highly customizable. Users could obtain unlimited follow-up reports. The most noticeable change in these reports was the depiction of individual characteristics. The reports highlighted individual characteristics in a circle that covered the expanse of the four parameters. The reports are thus more visual and memorable than the graphic representation. This allows individuals to immediately grasp the behavioral patterns they exhibit in a given setting. It also familiarizes the person with the common dynamics of a group. The newest tool in the market further to this is MyEverythingDiSC.com. This tool enable users to access the tool online with ease along with creating comparison reports. This tool uses the ‘adaptive testing’ format where the accuracy was higher. Everything DiSC has additionally introduced ‘Everything DiSC work of leaders’ to identify the leadership style of an individual. ‘Everything DiSC 363 for leaders’ provides an insight to leaders on their interpersonal relationships and the human resource aspect of it.