This is a bold statement, considering the myriad assessment systems available worldwide, but let’s look at just some of these from a user’s perspective.
It is impossible to review all the major systems in this document, but in Australia and New Zealand, the two most widely used methods are the Four-Quadrant Model, broadly known as DISC, and the Five-Factor Model, FFM. Both have been promoted worldwide over many years.
Two basic approaches to understanding behaviour
The DISC Model of Behaviour was first proposed by William Moulton Marston, an American psychologist, in his book Emotions of Normal People in 1928 (further developing Carl Jung’s concepts), and FFM was first published in 1986 as the NEO Personality Inventory, recognising four personality traits (then revised in 1992 to include an additional trait), by psychologists Paul Costa and Robert McCrae.
The Five-Factor Model of Personality (FFM) is a hierarchical organisation of personality traits described in terms of five basic dimensions: Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism and Openness to Experience.
The Four-Quadrant Model, on the other hand, recognises four clusters of personality traits: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance.
Several studies have been carried out comparing the two systems - perhaps one of the most authoritative being published by C S Jones, R Morris and N T Hartley in the American Journal of Business Education in July/August 2013.
Their conclusions were that “Eight significant correlations between the Five-Factor Model and DISC Personality Assessment were uncovered. Each correlation was consistent with both theories, including the additional correlations which were found to be significant. No significant correlations contradicted any of the hypotheses.”
They further found that “The logical conclusion is that knowledge of one of these personality assessments does provide information about the other. An understanding of the Five-Factor Theory Model used more widely in the classroom (according to a survey of university professors) is likely to help the student understand the DISC personality assessment used more widely in industry”.
While Costa and McCrae were working on their Five-Factor model, Jukka Sappinen, an MBA from the Helsinki School of Economics, who spent his early professional years consulting clients in the use of psychological tools, was developing an advanced system of DISC. A profound understanding of the gap between existing tools and corporate needs enabled Jukka to develop what his clients were looking for: an instrument that combines a range of valuable analyses, forming a simple, unified system that can be used to generate understandable, integrated information on an individual, team, or entire organisation.