Companies spend millions of dollars on training programs that center on teaching salespeople to identify the communication style of buyers in order to communicate with these buyers more effectively. These training systems typically have their roots in either Merrill and Reid's (1981) Social Style Matrix (SSM) or in the DISC Personal Profile System (DISC) and are ubiquitous in professional selling textbooks and in the trade press. A third taxonomy, developed by Williams and Spiro (1985) has been the focus of some recent scholarly research in the marketing domain (WS85). Despite the prominence and similarities of these three taxonomies, they were developed and continue to be used within silos and little is known about their comparative psychometric properties. Moreover, the SSM and DISC taxonomies have not been subjected to adequate psychometric analysis. We compare and test the psychometric properties of these three taxonomies across.two studies, the first consisting of 393 students and the second consisting of 115 professional buyers. The psychometric properties of the SSM and DISC taxonomies exhibit both psychometric and conceptual weaknesses. The authors concluded that a fourth communication style should be added to the WS85 taxonomy. The results of this study have important implications for managers, textbook writers and researchers with the authors recommending that the augmented WS85 taxonomies should be adopted by all. Comparison between SSM and DISC Quadrant Descriptors * Comparison between SSM and DISC Quadrant Descriptors * … Link to the article
MCFARLAND, R. and WHANG, Y.O. (2013). A Psychometric Analysis and Comparison of Three Competing Communication Style Taxonomies. Journal of Selling and Major Account Management, 13(2), pp. 26-45.