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Evolution of Behavioural Sciences: Introduction to the Social Styles

Communication is a fundamental aspect of human interaction, and understanding the complexities of social behaviour is essential to effective communication. Over the years, behavioural scientists have contributed significantly to our understanding of human behaviour and personality, from the ancient philosophers like Empedocles and Hippocrates to the modern-day research on interpersonal communication, we have also briefly touched upon the significant contributions of earlier psychologists, including Carl Jung's work on MBTI, Marston's DISC, and the Big 5 personality traits. In this article, we will focus on the work of David Merrill and Roger Reid, who identified four social styles in their research on communication in the 1970s. Through this exploration, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of social behavior and how it influences our communication style.

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to get along with everyone, while others clash no matter what they do? Or why some people are so detail-oriented, while others prefer to wing it? These questions were at the heart of the research by David Merrill and Roger Reid in the 1970s, which led to the identification of four distinct social styles. Understanding your own style, as well as those of the people around you, can help you communicate more effectively, build stronger relationships, and achieve your goals. Let's take a closer look at the four types:

  1. Analytical style: If you're an analytical type, you're probably a logical, systematic thinker who values facts and data. You enjoy analyzing problems and coming up with solutions, but you may struggle with small talk and socializing. To work well with you, others should be precise and give you enough space to think things through.

  2. Amiable style: If you're an amiable type, you're probably a warm, friendly person who cares deeply about others' feelings. You enjoy helping others and creating harmony, but you may struggle with making tough decisions and advocating for yourself. To work well with you, others should be patient and empathetic, and show appreciation for your efforts.

  3. Expressive style: If you're an expressive type, you're probably a creative, enthusiastic person who enjoys sharing your ideas and stories with others. You thrive on attention and affirmation, but you may struggle with following through on tasks and paying attention to details. To work well with you, others should be supportive and allow you to express yourself freely.

  4. Driver: People with a driver style are focused on results and achievement. They are often decisive and assertive, and enjoy taking charge and making decisions. They can be direct and blunt in their communication style.

Understanding Your Style

Knowing your own social style can help you communicate more effectively with others. It can also help you recognize and adapt to the styles of others. You may find that you have a dominant style, or that you display aspects of multiple styles depending on the situation. For example, an analytical person may struggle to communicate with an expressive person who values emotion and personal connection. By understanding their own style and the other person's style, they can adapt their communication to better connect with them.

Maxwell DISC Assessment for a Personal Navigation Plan

Unlock your true potential in both your personal and professional life by identifying your social style with the Maxwell DISC Personality Indicator (MDPI) Report! This powerful tool measures Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness to provide valuable insights into your communication style, helping you identify areas for growth and development. By understanding your social style, you can improve your communication skills and excel in your career or personal relationships. Additionally, DISC can help build stronger teams by identifying the social styles of team members and teaching effective communication strategies. Recognise your own social style and the styles of those around you to adapt your communication and build stronger relationships.

Grab a unique opportunity to take your communication skills & career growth to the next level. Sign up for our Personal Navigation Plan and Student Career and Success Report !

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