Social style as a concept is based on the work of industrial psychologists David Merrill and Roger Reid in the early 1960s. Merrill and Reid wanted to determine whether they could predict managerial, sales, and leadership performance based on how people behaved in social situations. The social style model is a means of categorizing people based on their personality traits and interactions with others in the workplace.
- Understanding the social style model
- The four social styles of the social style model
- Key takeaways:
- Other Business Matrices
- Additional Related Concepts
Through the research, the pair discovered that the behavior of an individual could be measured along two continua:
Or the degree to which an individual prefers to ask questions over making statements.
High assertiveness is associated with making demands, while low assertiveness is associated with making requests.
Referring to the way people express emotions.
Responsiveness is positively correlated with emotional expressiveness and empathy.
The social style model itself was later developed by TRACOM Group, a leader in corporate soft skill training programs and social intelligence.
True to its origins, the model maintains a focus on the outer behavior of the individual and not on their internal thoughts or processes.
Understanding the social style model means managers can treat each of their subordinates as individuals, maximizing their unique strengths while minimizing their weaknesses.
Social styles also provide clarity on the particular way an employee prefers to work.
This reduces workplace dissatisfaction and conflict and increases team cohesion.
Plotting the two dimensions of assertiveness and responsiveness on a grid yields four different social styles:
Driver (high assertiveness/low responsiveness)
Divers are less worried about how others react to them and more worried about getting results, which means they can be more independent and candid.
Their pragmatic nature means they tend to be poor collaborators and can upset others with their words or actions.
Expressive (high assertiveness/high responsiveness)
These individuals are articulate, intuitive, creative, enthusiastic, extroverted, and visionary.
They have highly developed persuasive skills and can motivate others.
However, their high assertiveness means they are poor listeners and easily become distracted and impatient.
They also fear being rejected or ignored by others.
Amiable (low assertiveness/high responsiveness)
People with an amiable social style are comfortable sharing their feelings with others and are generally more agreeable.
Without an innate need to lead, they are steady and reliable workers.
However, this passiveness can lead to conflict avoidance, carelessness, low motivation, and a fear of change.
Analytical (low assertiveness/low responsiveness)
These individuals are described by others are quiet, logical, reserved, and cautious.
To a greater degree than the other styles, analytical people keep their emotions in check and communicate only when they feel the need to do so.
They are task-oriented and prefer to work by themselves, with their prudent and systematic nature ideally suited to complex analytical work.
Under stress, however, analytical individuals can withdraw, become overly critical, or hesitate in making important decisions.
- The social style model is a means of categorizing people based on their personality traits and interactions with others in the workplace. The model is based on the work of psychologists David Merrill and Roger Reid in the early 1960s.
- The social style model suggests the outward behavior of individuals in a social workplace setting falls along two continua. The first is assertiveness, or the extent to which an individual asks questions or makes demands. The second is assertiveness, which is positively correlated with emotional responsiveness and empathy.
- The social style model represents assertiveness and responsiveness on a grid with four quadrants: driver, expressive, amiable, and analytical. Each quadrant represents a predominant social style that can be used in employee management.
Other Business Matrices
Additional Related Concepts
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