William Marstons Theory
DiSC® Theory – William Moulton Marston
Wiley’s DiSC® products began with a theory based on the work of William Moulton Marston, a Harvard psychologist and a contemporary of Carl Jung. The findings of his work are found in his book: “The Emotions of Normal People,” published in 1928.
While all of his contemporaries studied abnormal behavior, Marston was not interested in pathology but rather in how normal people behaved as they interacted with others and the world around them – their environment.
It was his intent to increase people’s understanding of themselves and others while decreasing misunderstandings. He found that two kinds of perceptions are particularly useful for explaining people’s responses in a particular situation:
Perception of Environment and Perception of Self:
Marston observed that these two perceptions interact to describe an individual’s response to a situation.
When the environment is perceived as unfavorable and the individual feels more powerful than the environment, he or she expresses a Dominant response. This individual will likely try to direct, change, fix, or control the situation.
When the environment is perceived as favorable and the individual feels more powerful than the environment, he or she expresses a desire to Influence. This person will likely try to bring others around to his or her point of view – to influence or persuade.
When the environment is perceived as favorable, and the individual feels less powerful than the environment, he or she expresses behaviors that offer support and help to others. This person will likely try to stabilize the situation and support those in need.
When the environment is perceived as unfavorable, and the individual feels less powerful than the environment, he or she expresses Conscientiousness Behaviors. This person will likely set clear rules within the situation and work very hard to follow them.
While Marston created the DiSC® Model, he never developed an instrument by which to measure it. The original DiSC® Classic Profile based on the work of Marston was developed by John Geier of Performax Systems International.
For more than thirty years, Inscape and its predecessors have researched and refined the original DiSC® theory to maximize its impact and accuracy.