William Moulton Marston (1893 to 1947), father of DISC, won world-wide acclaim for creating influential works as a psychologist and as the inventor of the polygraph machine. Harvard educated Marston, in 1928, published a book named Emotions of Normal People - an outcome of a lifelong study into the science and complexities of human behavior. The book was an outcome of both clinical experimentation and theoretical analysis. He conceived the theory of DISC by linking behaviors to environmental axis of environment on favorability and power.
Marston referred to four quadrants of behavioral patterns as a basis of his theory. The quadrants he named as Dominance (D), Inducement (I), Submission (S), and Compliance (C). These words may have changed today however the underlying theoretical principles remain pretty much the same.
Dominance (D) = direct, strong-willed, and forceful Perceives oneself as more powerful than the environment, and perceives the environment as unfavorable.
Inducement (I) = sociable, talkative, and lively Perceives oneself as more powerful than the environment, and perceives the environment as favorable.
Submission (S) = gentle, accommodating, and stable Perceives oneself as less powerful than the environment, and perceives the environment as favorable.
Compliance (C) = private, analytical, and logical Perceives oneself as less powerful than the environment, and perceives the environment as unfavorable.
Three years after publishing Emotions of Normal People, Marston further expanded his work with the DiSC model by publishing the book Integrative Psychology. He described the link between emotion, personality, motivation, learning, and recall—connections. These components have all become key components of contemporary personality assessments the word over.
Marston also won worldwide acclaim for inventing the lie detector machine. While working on the book on Integrative Psychology, Marston established the link between emotions and blood pressure. He used this to develop the polygraph machine. This become popular in the 20th century especially for investigative purpose.
Marston won further acclaim for creating the comic character Wonder Woman. He believed that women are the stronger and more honest as a gender and therefore better workers. He spent the last few years of his life dedicated to his love for the pen. He wrote the script for the comic Wonder Women from 1941 to 1947. He posthumously inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 2006.
In 1956, an industrial psychologist named Walter Clarke calibrated and constructed the DISC assessment using William Moulton Marston’s theory as outlined in the latter’s book "emotions of normal people". He took the support of the Activity Vector Analysis, a checklist of adjectives that people used to describe themselves. This assessment was intended for application in the corporate world for recruitment and selection process.
His assessment was later amended from being a checklist to a self-assessment by Walter Clarke Associates.
John George Geier III, an American psychologist contributed to this assessment by producing the DISC personality profile (PPS) in 1958 based on the works of Marston and Clarke. Dr. John Geier was the founder of Geier Learning International and worldwide consultants - Performax Learning Network and Carlson Learning (Inscape Publishing and now a division of John Wiley & Sons). Geier conducted hundreds of clinical interviews which assisted him to further progress the fifteen patterns which Walter Clarke had conceived. This was the genesis of the world's most popular assessment - DiSC Classic.
DiSC Classic represents the traditional way to describe a respondent’s DiSC profile. This format is used only in DiSC Classic and it provides separate scores on the four scales: D, i, S, and C. The interpretation of DiSC Classic line graph is based on a Classical Patterns. The 15 patterns describe a person’s overall DiSC pattern as influenced by all four styles.
The journey from DiSC Classic to Everything DiSC signifies a shift from being an assessment to being a training system. Everything DiSC profiles are the contemporary profiles. Launched in 2007, Everything DiSC profiles use an easy to read circumplex describe a respondents DiSC style. The assessments come with personalized reports, customizable facilitation tools such as posters and electronic access to generate unlimited follow-up reports like comparison reports and group reports.
Inscape Publishing, now a division of John Wiley and Sons, shifted to the Everything DiSC series, an adaptive method of testing resulting in a significant improvement in reliability and validity of the instrument. Furthermore, by launching Myeverythingdisc.com, the system has been transformed into a collaborative and social system that enhances behavioral flexibility at workplace.