The foundation for the DISC model comes from the work of a Harvard psychologist named Dr. William Moulton Marston in the 1920’s. He developed a theory that people tend to develop a self-concept based on one of four factors — Dominance, Inducement, Steadiness, or Compliance. This idea forms the basis for the DISC theory as it is commonly applied today.
Later psychologists and behavioral specialists developed a variety of practical tools to apply Marston’s theory. Currently, there are many assessment and measurement tools based on the DISC model.
Dr. Robert Rohm — founder and president of Personality Insights, Inc of Atlanta, Georgia — has developed the best collection of practical application tools using the DISC model that I have found. Through his work, his publications, the work of his team, and a network of Human Behavioral consultants certified to teach his material; he has reached millions of people around the world.
In the DISC model as taught by Personality Insights consultants, the full range of normal human behavior is defined by a circle divided into quadrants as described below.
Divide a circle in half horizontally. The upper half represents outgoing or fast-paced people. The lower half represents reserved or slower-paced people. Outgoing people tend to move fast, talk fast, and decide fast. Reserved people tend to speak more slowly and softer than outgoing people, and they generally prefer to consider things thoroughly before making a decision.