Personality Types in Business ( and how to figure them out )

Introduction: Personality Types in Business

In any workplace, as in life, there are numerous different personality types; some of us are more extrovert whilst others are more reactive  The main thing is to be fully aware of these divergent personality traits or risk the problems that come with pigeonholing people. We are all different and that’s a good thing. But what’s not good is if someone feels pressurised to modify their personality simply to keep their boss happy.

Repression of one’s personality traits not only creates stress for the employee, but the employer will never see the true personality, capabilities, strengths or weaknesses of their staff member. This is where personality profiling comes into play. APeoplesBusiness’s StressFactor test reveals authentic character traits. This can be used to get the best out of every person in a workplace environment.

A bit of History …

The idea of introvert and extrovert comes from the work of nineteenth-century psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. In his early career, Jung studied with the famed Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. Initially, the two collaborated, but eventually, Jung’s research and personal vision made it impossible for him to follow Freud’s doctrine, so they parted ways. This was personally painful for Jung, but it resulted in him developing analytical psychology as a system distinct from Freud’s psychoanalysis.

In his seminal work Psychologische Typen published in Germany in 1921, Jung identified four ways in which we experience the world: Sensation; Intuition; Feeling and Thinking. He also theorised that individuals fall into one of two psychological types – introversion or extroversion. The main difference is that introverts interpret the world subjectively, whereas extroverts interpret the world objectively.

Since we all swerve rather more towards one side or the other, we naturally tend to understand everything in terms of our own type.

1920s: DiSC Theory

In 1928 psychologist William Moulton Marston published the landmark book Emotions of Normal People. Based on extensive his research, Marston developed the theory that normal people express their emotions by using four personality traits: Dominance; Influence; Steadiness and Compliance.

He viewed people behaving along two axes, with their attention being either passive or active, depending on the individual’s perception of his or her environment being either favourable or antagonistic. By placing the axes at right angles, four quadrants form, with each describing a behavioural pattern¹

  • Dominance produces activity in an antagonistic environment
  • Influence produces activity in a favourable environment
  • Steadiness produces passivity in a favourable environment
  • Compliance produces passivity in an antagonistic environment


To test his theory he devised a system that measured these four areas and named it DiSC after the four initial letters. He reasoned that a person can have many traits in varying degrees, depending on their environment and personal situation.

Emotions of normal people by William Moulton Marston book cover
Emotions of normal people by William Moulton Marston | Read on the Internet Archive

1950s: DiSC Assessment Tool

In the mid 1950s, industrial psychologist Walter Vernon Clarke took Marston’s DiSC theory and developed it into a behavioural assessment tool. The questionnaire asked people to select from a checklist of words, what they felt most accurately described themselves. Each individual’s answers were then used to generate their unique psychological profile. Clarke developed this assessment tool to help businesses choose qualified employees.

Use of DiSC today

Today DiSC is one of the most widely used psychometric personality profiling tools and is regularly used by leadership teams world-wide including large organisations, government departments and multi-nationals.

The Activity Vector Analysis as a Selector of Life Insurance Salesmen 1956 | Wiley Online Library

Our DiSC Personality Profiling Psychometric Tool

At APB we use tailored psychological personality tests as an integral part of our StressFactor™ business solution.

In January 2017 APeopleBusiness commissioned an independent psychologist, and a behavioural scientist to create a survey questionnaire called StressFactor. We worked extensively with both psychologists and behavioural experts to develop something truly unique. The personality tests give our clients insights into the way their people interact, identifying key stress points. This invaluable information gives employees a nuanced insight into their personality type and supplies employers with a visual, quantifiable way of overcoming internal company stressors.

This custom business product has three parts. Part One integrates the psychometric personality profiling tool DiSC, which has now been automated using the latest techniques in web-based software development.

Benefits of the APeopleBusiness Personality Profile tool:

a) Identification of dominant DiSC personality type and an anticipated stress tolerance level as per the DiSC theory

b) Indicative assessment of stress levels within the profile as shown by chart movement

c) Generation of an automated personality profile report (to thank the participant for completing the rest of the questionnaire)

Once enrolled on the APB online system we ask a series of questions similar to a multiple-choice questionnaire. The questions are designed to be answered quickly, taking no more than 8 seconds each. This enables honest answers without overthinking the meaning behind the question. Within 20-30 minutes you’ll have answered all the questions and based on your answers a unique report is generated for you.

The report can sometimes come as a surprise, but it generates accurate and nuanced results. The main aim is to inform you of your strengths and how to play to them. Ultimately it’s an invaluable and eye-opening guide that will help you in your career.


We started the article with the premise that we would tell you about the different personality types in business. While it would be nice to list a series of personality types similar to those you might find on other websites, the truth is that people are more than simple stereotypes. People are a blend of characteristics impacted by their environment, their personal circumstances, life experiences, education and upbringing.

We are all special and valuable with our unique gifts, talents and abilities, and it’s vital to understand that as individuals we have the capacity to learn and improve – that’s just part of life. But the key factor is, that we can adapt to employment situations and enjoy the experience of working with other people.

Finally, for business leaders, the trick is to understand employee capabilities, and the key to this is knowing what makes each employee react the way they do, based on their personality type. By having this deeper understanding of your people you can create an environment for them to thrive in, and achieve their maximum potential. APB’s psychological tools, and the insights they offer, will help you work out how to achieve this.

We welcome you to contact us if you would like more information about how we can help your company.

Sources / Resources:

1 : Wikipedia biography of William Moulton Marston

2: Emotions of normal people by William Moulton Marston | Read on the Internet Archive

3: The Activity Vector Analysis as a Selector of Life Insurance Salesmen 1956 | Wiley Online Library