DISC Styles Differ Based on Culture


Each “culture” has its own specific styles, although the D, I, S and C styles are all still identified within that culture.

Those of us who have lots of communication with Germans often think that they are mainly D types but the stats for them are:

D = 6.6 I = 47 S = 18.2 C = 28.2 

Because their communication is generally direct, we see it as a D trait, but that is simply their normal way of communicating.

Likewise, the Dutch appear to us to be very direct but their stats are:

D = 11.4 I = 31.9 S = 36.0 C = 20.7

Again it is culturally their way of communicating. Let’s look at the “mechanics” behind the DISC personality profiling.

Step 1 is the theoretical framework behind the system. This requires deep understanding of the theory and logic of how the system works. Being aware of the theory is important for the end user also to be able to understand what the DISC tool can do and what it cannot do. Understanding the technical logic behind the tool is not necessary.

Step 2 is the process of collecting the information and creating the Profiles and the report. This is purely statistical and mathematical and is totally culture-free.

Step 3 is the application of the information in specific environments. This part requires the understanding of the theory behind the tool and especially the understanding of the context where the information is to be applied. This part is totally culture bound and requires an understanding of the culture.

In simple words, one needs to understand what the tool is based on but not how it produces the results. If someone gets a D profile, it means that the person prefers a D response/behaviour. But what does it mean in Thailand? This is something the tool doesn’t know; it only knows that compared to other Thai people this person is more D. 

The key is that in the questionnaire we can find those stimuli (words) that cause the desired type of person to respond in a desired way. The purpose of the questionnaire is find out how this person is compared to other people within the same culture.

Asian statistics:

Language D I S C
Chinese 11.9 17.4 43.9 26.8
Korea 12.4 32.4 37.5 17.8
Thailand 14.3 23.3 38.4 24.1

Australasia, UK and USA statistics:

Language D I S C
Australasia 8.3 32.4 35.0 24.3
UK 15.2 29.9 28.8 26.1
USA 10.8 30.2 29.6 29.5

Again, the styles are not as “skewed” as we may think, but certainly to us, the C and S styles in Asian populations appear to be the over-riding styles because of the way we view their mode of communication. As far as the Asian people are concerned, they would more easily see the difference in each individual’s style – recognising the four main traits within their own culture.

These figures are all based on a 2017 random sample of 487,560 reports and we are expecting the next measurement to be completed at the expiry of the 2019 calendar year.