After listening to some of the MT podcasts I decided it would be worthwhile to go out and get my team to undertake a DISC profile test.

My HR department came back saying they can't do DISC, but can do the OCEAN test - also known as the 'Big Five' personality traits.

I was told the following applies:

Dominance = Agreeableness and Openness Scales                        
Influence= Extraversion and Agreeableness Scales
Steadiness= Conscientiousness and Stress Scales                                           
Conscientiousness= Conscientiousness Scales

Is anyone familiar with the OCEAN (openness, conscientousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism) test? Is it just as worthwhile or should I be searching for a DISC specific test?

cgratny's picture

Without knowing anything about OCEAN.

I prefer DISC for the one reason that is stated numerous times in the podcasts, it is about behavior.  Professionally, it doesn't matter very much if my directs are outgoing or introverts, I care most about their behavior.  

So many tests out there tell me about my personality. In my experience I've found that most people don't like to be put in a box personality wise.  The DISC is so much more palatable because it talks about what your default is, and states that you have D,I,S,C in you.  My directs who are high D's really didn't like the test and argued with it until I explained the behavior more to them.  That I wasn't trying to put them in a box, rather I was doing it so they knew and I knew their default behavior in order to be able to best adapt to situations.

backstage froth's picture
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As befitting a high C, I thought I'd come in with some data well after it could have been useful. There is a study that compares DISC with OCEAN which you can find here:

One problem with OCEAN is that different authors use different labels, and sometimes the labels are used with opposite sense (a trait called "agreeableness" by some might be called "tough-mindedness" by others, with opposite sense).

To summarize:
- High D is correlated with low agreeableness and low neuroticism.
- High I is correlated with high extraversion and high openness.
- High S is correlated with low openness and high agreeableness.
- High C is correlated with low extraversion.

So if you are a high-D, high-C like me, then DISC is saying you are introverted, tough-minded, and stable.

backstage froth's picture
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Link to source used in previous comment:

US41's picture

DISC is a product of a private company designed to allow coworkers to be categorized by their behaviors in order to enable understanding and predictability of behaviors in those coworkers by tossing them into easy-to-use categories. 

OCEAN is a proven scientific tool which is used by experts who study human personality to understand the underlying processes behind a person's behavior. The Big Five is among people who study personality considered the key indicator of the fundamentals of personality. It consists of 300+ questions administered by a professional. 

It is impossible to map one test result to the other. 

The DISC may give a result that shows you are a dominant, fast talking, fast walking, leaning in, confrontational, efficient and results-oriented in your outlook. (High D)

That same person may take OCEAN and find they are Open, Disagreeable, Conscientious, Introverted, and Neurotic. Or they may find the opposite results across the board and be closed, agreeable, non-conscientious, extraverted, and non-neurotic.

There is nothing in OCEAN that predicts behavior. OCEAN is not actionable by YOU at work. You can't meet me as your boss and say to yourself, "Hey, you seem open and disagreeable, therefore I will do things this way." But if you ID me as a high D, then you have yourself a playbook. Be brief, don't waste my time, bottom line up front, don't talk over or interrupt me, and be prepared for me to tell you what to do and run off and go do it quickly.

OCEAN is used by professionals and requires extensive testing to find out what goes on in your mind. DISC is used by people who want to quickly assess another person's behavior and preferences and adapt themselves appropriately. Both tests are misused by people to understand only themselves and then justify repeated unsuccessful beahvior despite negative feedback. 

MT Managers are recommended to use DISC to help them quickly navigate work interactions successfully at the office.