DiSC®, DISC, and D.I.S.C.; Why are there so many different assessments?

  • Why there so many different DISC assessments

William Moulton Marston: The Theorizor of D. I. S. C

The story of DISC begins with a man named William Moulton Marston and his book, Emotions of Normal People.

Emotions of Normal People

In the Emotions of Normal People, Marston outlined how you could better identify why a person behaves in a particular and predictable way based on observable emotional patterns. Marston saw that our experiences shaped our behaviors.

  • Inducement (I)
  • Submission (S)
  • Compliant (C)
Marston’s model focused on understanding a person’s behavior based on if they felt power over their environment.

Why are there so many versions of DISC?

William Moulton Marston developed DISC theory, but he never created an assessment.

Activity Vector Analysis (AVA); Walter Clarke & Associates

Walter Clarke was working for a major retailer in New York City when he recognized a correlation between people who enjoyed their job and their success. Clarke sought to understand if there were identifiable tendencies that you measure.

Self Discription; John Cleaver & Associates

In 1956, John Cleaver, an associate of Walter Clarke, created his assessment called Self Discription (misspelled intentionally to highlight the use of DISC). Cleaver’s assessment is still available today and is now called Cleaver DISC.

The DiSC© Personal Profile System; Performax, Carlson Learning, Inscape, John Wiley & Sons, and John Geier

In the 1970s, another man named John Geier created his own version of the DiSC© Profile (with the small ‘i’). Geier was a faculty member at the University of Minnesota. Through his research, Geier discovered Marston and was determined to create an instrument that would use his DISC theory.

TTI Success Insights

Bill and Dave Bonnstetter started a consulting firm called Target Training International. They asked themselves a single question that would motivate their work:

The DISC Landscape

When researching why there are so many DISC assessment versions, we must look at Geier. You can follow John Geier’s DiSC® tool and the other assessments that his affiliate partners produced:

  • 1980s:
  • Carlson Learning Systems buys Performax Systems International.
  • Bill Bonnstetter leaves to create and sell his version computerized version of DISC.
  • 1990s: Tony Alessandra leaves Carlson Learning’s partner network and starts his own assessment company, Assessments 24x7.
  • 2000s: Carlson Learning sells its assessment business (DiSC®) to an investment group which becomes Inscape Publishing
  • 2010 — Today:
  • Inscape Publishing is purchased by John Wiley & Sons
  • Take Flight with DISC is published by Assessments 24x7
  • Tony Robbins forms a partnership with Assessments 24x7.
  • DISC Basic is published by Assessments 24x7



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Adam Stamm

Adam Stamm


Just your average irrational human trying to better understand the world.