The History of DISC
William Moulton Marston and the DISC Model
The DISC Model of Behavior was first proposed by Dr. William Mouton Marston, a physiological psychologist with a Ph.D. from Harvard, and has become one of the most widely-used models for understanding the behavioral differences in people. In his 1928 book, Emotions of Normal People, his primary interest was in theories of emotions and how they lead to behavioral differences among groups of people.
From his research, Marston theorized this behavioral expression of emotions could be categorized into four primary types which he labeled: Dominance (D), Inducement (I), Submission (S), and Compliance (C).
Marston’s work focused on directly observable and measurable psychological phenomena. He was interested in using practical explanations to help people understand and manage their experiences and relationships. He never actually developed a DISC assessment to measure these four types, however. In the 1940’s, Industrial Psychologist Walter Clark took Marston’s theories and developed the first DiSC® Assessment.
Stands the test of time
From Marston up to the present, the understanding of the DISC Model and assessments continues to evolve. Although the labels for the four types have changed over time, the constructs as Marston understood them have endured relatively unchanged from his original conceptions of them.