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Big Five VS DISC

In the 1960s, the Big Five model was developed by US researchers Ernest Tupes and Raymond Christal. However, in the 1980s and 1990s, several researchers continued to develop the model. The Big Five model, also known as Big 5 personality, describes five personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

The Big Five model and DISC are still sometimes confused. That is why we take you through the differences, similarities and explain whether you can combine the two models.

Big Five Personality traits

The Big Five model in a nutshell

You can take the Big Five test by answering a list of statements. For these statements, you get 5 multiple-choice options. Does this statement suit you? Totally agree, agree, neutral, disagree or totally disagree? Based on your answers, your score on each characteristic is measured. The five personal characteristics measured are:

Openness: This refers to the extent to which a person is open to new experiences, creativity and complexity. People with high openness tend to be adventurous and curious, while those with low openness can often be traditional and conservative.
Conscientiousness: This indicates how organised, punctual and reliable a person is. People with high conscientiousness tend to be orderly and responsible, while those with low conscientiousness may be less organised.
Extraversion: Extraversion measures a person’s degree of sociability and assertiveness. Extraverted people tend to be sociable, energetic and enthusiastic in social situations, while introverted people can be more withdrawn and reserved.
Agreeableness: This characteristic reflects a person’s kindness, helpfulness and compassion. People with high acceptability tend to be cooperative and empathetic, while those with low acceptability may be more competitive and less inclined to cooperate.
Neuroticism: Neuroticism relates to emotional stability. People with high levels of neuroticism tend to experience more negative emotions such as fear and anger, while people with low levels of neuroticism tend to be emotionally stable and calm.

Differences between Big Five and DISC

The main difference is that the DISC model focuses specifically on behavioural styles and communication preferences. Behaviour is divided into four different behavioural styles: Dominance, Influence, Stability and Conformism. This allows you to gain quick and practical insight into how people react, communicate and cooperate.

DISC test axes with 4 colours

Big Five a broader and more general model that measures five fundamental personality dimensions. It focuses on describing personality traits without identifying specific behavioural styles.

While The Big Five offers valuable insights into broad personality traits such as extraversion and conscientiousness, it lacks the specific focus on behavioural styles that the DISC model offers. The DISC model focuses mainly on behavioural traits and how people react in different situations. This can be useful for team development, for example, where understanding how colleagues communicate and work together is crucial.

In short: The Big Five model focuses on personality traits, while DISC focuses on behaviour and communication.

Similarities between Big Five and DISC

The similarity between The Big Five and the DISC model is that both tools help us understand individual differences in personality and help us adapt to the preferences of others.

For example, both models are widely used in recruitment. Recruiters or HR staff quickly get a clear picture of the applicant based on the scores. In this way, they can quickly seek depth during a first meeting.

Can you combine the Big Five model and DISC?

Sure! By integrating both models, you get a fuller picture of someone’s characteristics and behaviour. For example, teams get a complete picture of their colleagues which can improve communication, conflict management and cooperation. Therefore, combining the two models is a great opportunity to provide additional depth.

Getting started with the Big Five model and DISC

But how can you then combine the two models?

  1. Start by completing Big Five personality tests for each team member. This will give everyone a clear picture of their personality traits according to the Big Five model.
  2. Discuss the results as a team. Emphasise that everyone has unique qualities and that these qualities are valuable to the team.
  3. Introduce the DISC model and have team members take a DISC analysis. Then collectively discuss the composition of the team using a DISC team analysis.
  4. Discuss the differences and similarities between the Big Five results and the DISC behavioural styles. How do these characteristics correspond to behaviour and communication? How does this express itself?
  5. Establish concrete actions and strategies to communicate and work together more effectively based on these insights. Everyone can bring in their unique personality traits and behavioural styles to strengthen team dynamics. In the back of the DISC analysis you will find a personal action plan that everyone can work with. At the end of the DISC team analysis you will also find several worksheets.

This form of work encourages openness, understanding and acceptance of different personalities and communication styles in the team. It helps team members appreciate their unique contributions and interact more effectively.

What is the difference between Big Five and DISC?

While DISC focuses on behavioural styles and communication preferences, The Big Five offers an insight into broad personality dimensions.

What is the similarity between Big Five and DISC?

What they have in common is that both tools recognise the diversity of personalities and help in understanding and adapting interactions with others.

What is better: DISC or Big Five?

It is difficult to determine so much whether the Big Five model or the DISC model is more effective. Effectiveness depends on the specific purpose and context in which the model is used. Both models have their own value and applications. Therefore, it is important to choose the right model based on the specific needs and objectives.
When it comes to practical applicability and immediate improvement of communication and cooperation, the DISC model excels.