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The black and white effect of being labeled : the influence of being labeled by the DiSC personality model from the perspective of the labeled participants

Geissler, Debby L.H. (2014) The black and white effect of being labeled : the influence of being labeled by the DiSC personality model from the perspective of the labeled participants.

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Abstract:This study examines the influence of being labeled with the DiSC personality model from the perspective of team members of three self-managing teams. To study this influence we use the Social categorization theory (SCT) and the Social identity theory which we refer to as the identification and categorization process. The identification and categorization process is focused on identifying similarities and differences with other individuals to create a shared identity. We did study how the DiSC personality model influences the identification and categorization process of the participants. 29 employees from three self-managing teams of one legal department in a non-profit organization situated in the Netherlands are qualitatively examined about a communication training which they have followed with their team. During the communication training a four-quadrant instrument, the SCAN model, is used as a tool to improve the communication and to develop cooperation and transparency between the team members of a self-managing team. In this study we refer to the DISC personality model instead of the SCAN model because the SCAN model is a derivative of the DiSC personality model. First, the participants were asked to describe the DiSC personality model as a tool for the identification and categorization process in their self-managing team. Results show that the DiSC personality model provides insight in approaching and understanding other team members and themselves. According to the participants, the model can be seen as approach tool, a self-knowledge tool, an understanding tool, and eventually leads to insight in the self and others. Beside these findings there was a group of participants that mentioned that the model cannot be seen as a tool for team members in a self-managing team who want to develop cooperation and transparency. Based on these findings we are able to conclude that the DiSC personality model is useful to create insight, based on the identification and categorization process, in the self and other team members for most of the participants. Second, all of the participants were asked to describe the personality traits of the four different basic colored team roles in the DiSC personality model. For all of the basic colored team role personality traits were mentioned which were similar and different from the findings about the DiSC personality model in the literature. This means that the participants identify and categorize themselves not only based on the personality traits of the DiSC personality model as known in the literature. They also use new personality traits to identify and categorize themselves and others with. Therefore, we conclude that being labeled by the DiSC personality model cannot be seen as a complete picture. Thoughts and descriptions of the participants about personality traits are also important to optimize the identification and categorization process for the participants in this study. Third, the influence of being labeled by one color in the DiSC personality model is evaluated by the participants as positive and negative. Clarity, corner, group forming, consciousness, professionalisation, and respect can be seen as the positive influence of being labeled with one color of the DiSC personality model. The participants who are positive about the influence of being colored by one color in the DiSC personality model mentioned that being colored by one color in the DiSC personality model leads to clarity and consciousness. The model provides a sort of guidance for the development of working together in a self-managing team in a professional and respectful way. Based on the positive sample comments and keywords we are able to conclude that the positive influence of being colored by one color in the DiSC personality model can be evaluated as a certain kind of guidance that leads to calmness among the participants the participants in a self-managing team. The negative influence of being labeled by one color of the model is mentioned by the participants through the keywords too simple, not one colour, box thinking, stamp, generalization, and not usable. Based on the findings we can conclude that the negative influence of being colored by one color in the DiSC personality model according to some of the participants is evaluated as to simple. The participants who are negative about being labeled by one color in the DiSC personality model mentioned that it is important to keep in mind that everybody has certain colors and that it is not good to generalize the team members in a self-managing team based on one basic colored team role. They mentioned that it is important to remind that everybody has a little bit of every basic colored team role in the DISC personality model. Overall, we conclude that is important to keep in mind that being labeled by one color of the DISC personality model should be the starting point of the identification and categorization process and not develop in a kind of negative diversity or discriminative subdivision. Implications of the findings and suggestions for future research are presented.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/65689
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