What does DiSC® stand for?

19th May 2019

What does DiSC® stand for?

DiSC® assesses personality traits of an individual to help evaluate their work style preferences. Each letter in DiSC® stands for a general personality style which will help determine one’s work style. By combining these four styles into one DiSC® assessment, DiSC® can be used to predict the optimal workplace setting, style, and team composition.

The DiSC® assessment tool is based on the research of lawyer and psychologist William Moulton Marston. Marston’s research on emotional intelligence and 1928 publication of Emotions of Normal People inspired industrial psychologist Walter Clarke to create the Activity Vector Analysis in the 1950s. This tool asked participants to fill out a checklist of adjectives to help hiring businesses select the appropriate candidates. His 1965 publication further inspired John George Geier’s development of the Personal Profile System. This ultimately became the DiSC® assessment system we know today, which is now owned by Wiley.

Interestingly, Geier’s DiSC profile previously evaluated four slightly different personality traits in his early research.

So, what does DiSC® stand for today?

D: Dominance

I: Influence

S: Steadiness

C: Conscientiousness


Those who score highly in dominance generally display an assertive personality with an ambition for high team performance. They will take control to drive positive results. Dominant individuals in the DiSC® assessment strive to maintain authority and demonstrate attributes that can be categorized as decisive, demanding, independent, impatient, and/or direct.


An influence DiSC® profile reflects an outgoing personality type and these people are generally gregarious and talkative. Those who score highly in influence tend to be socially intelligent and are motivated by fear of disapproval and rejection. As a result, influential individuals typically excel when contributing and participating on teams. Attributes that describe this DiSC® personality type include friendliness, openness, and/or being animated.


A steadiness DiSC® style reflects those who demonstrate calm and reserved personality traits. While possibly reserved, these individuals are often great listeners who strive to cooperate, resulting in a team member who is level-headed and appreciates predictability. This DiSC® style is often found among people who prefer a routine, value security, and will defend their team. Steadiness DiSC® profile is associated with terms such as thoughtfulness, easy-going-ness, slow decision-making, and/or acceptingness.


Conscientiousness personality styles on the DiSC® scale indicate team members who tend to be analytical and perfectionistic. These individuals are the participants who monitor the planning and quality output of a group effort. This DiSC® style is often found in people who are systematic, and attributes may include: reliance on logic, accuracy, and formalness.

By taking the Everything DiSC® assessment, these traits can be further broken down into twelve ub-styles. These combinations will help individuals further understand how they fall into the DiSC® system. If you would like more information on interpreting your results, check out our post which dives deeper into the subject:  What are the DiSC® Personality Types? A Deeper Look At 12 Styles.

The DiSC® assessment tool helps team members understand themselves and their counterparts. This ultimately empowers team leaders and team members alike to form a strong understanding of oneself and the team dynamic, facilitating conflict-management, teamwork, and productivity. DiSC® can identify strengths and weaknesses of team members, which allows a group to solve problems and assign tasks efficiently.

Is Your Organization Ready For the DiSC®?

DiSC Value Profiles is a distributor of a full range Wiley Authorized DiSC® assessments including the DiSC® Classic, Everything DiSC®, and more! We would love the opportunity to discuss your needs. Simply call or fill out our contact form to get started.


Wallace, S. Rains; Clarke, WALTER V.; Dry, RAYMOND J. (September 1956). "The Activity Vector Analysis as a Selector of Life Insurance Salesmen". Personnel Psychology. 9: 337–345.

Marston, William M. (1928). Emotions of Normal People. K. Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd. p. 405.