Social Style

From CEOpedia | Management online

Social Style Model classifies people through their interaction with others and their personality traits. The instrument was developed by TRACOM Group on the grounds of David Merrill and Roger Reid theory originated in 1981[1]. Social Style Model has a lot of applications based on an interpersonal relationship such as it is useful to set down the sort of jobs in which employees will fit in the best or the worst. It can also make use of improving your daily communications with others by identifying a person's preferences and make considered decisions to feel that person comfortable.

Four Social Styles

The model represents four styles in which a particular style expresses itself by people's everyday interactions. By collating two aspects such as Assertiveness and Responsiveness arise the opportunity to identify four styles[2].

The four styles are[3]:

  • Driving (Tell Assertive + Control Responsive) Characteristics: Courageous, committed, clearly defined goals, determined.
  • Expressive (Tell Assertive + Emote Responsively) Characteristics: Talkative, positive, enthusiastic, emotional, dramatic.
  • Amiable (Ask Assertive + Emote Responsively) Characteristics: Dependable, charming, patient, dislike pressure, sociable, cautious.
  • Analytical (Ask Assertive + Control Responsive) Characteristics: Thinker, inquisitive, hesitant, serious persistent, careful.

Influencing to a different social styles

Different social styles require different approaches to conversation. Understanding and distinguishing between these styles, can lead the conversation differently in our favor. Knowing a little bit about preferred style another person, you can properly present your argument to better influence your interlocutor and avoid situations that the personality cannot tolerate.

To Influencing analyticals be organized, provide data and solid, practical fact in a logical format. Give them time to think about it all. Don't joke, don't use the opinion of other people as evidence and don't rush the process of decision-making[4].

To Influencing Drivers be specific, brief, clear and to the point. Prepare and present for Them various variants and options so that they can make their own thoughtful decision. Don't try to ask about personal life, don't ask irrelevant or rhetorical questions and the most important thing is not to waste their precious time[5].

To Influencing Amiables break the ice first, start with funny personal comments, be responsive and listen. Present your issue softly, in a non-threatening way. Don't be rapid and abrupt, do not go to the business too quickly. Don't be incomprehensible, do not propose many options and solutions[6].

To Influencing Expressives support their intuitions and dreams, ask for their ideas and opinions about people. Sometimes deviating from the topic. Don't be tight-lipped, curt or cold. Don't be dogmatic, don't concentrate on figures and facts, don't stick to the agenda too rigidly[7].

Examples of Social Style

  • Person A is a driver. They are direct, task-oriented, and have a strong need to get the job done quickly. They prefer short concise conversations and do not like to waste time on idle chit-chat.
  • Person B is an expresser. They are outgoing, enthusiastic, and optimistic. They like to socialize and build relationships with others. They are always quick to share their opinions and emotions and enjoy engaging in lively conversations.
  • Person C is an analyzer. They are rational, thoughtful, and have a need for accuracy. They prefer to take their time to consider all the facts and details before making decisions. They are generally more reserved and prefer to stay out of the limelight.

Advantages of Social Style

The advantages of the Social Style Model are:

  • It helps to understand how different people prefer to behave and interact with others. This can be used to build better relationships with colleagues, customers and other people in the workplace.
  • It helps to identify the best job roles for employees and how they can work most effectively in those roles.
  • It can be used to improve communication and foster understanding between people of different personality types.
  • It can be used to resolve conflicts in a constructive way, as it helps to identify how different personalities prefer to communicate.
  • It is a useful tool to increase team performance and productivity, as it allows for better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each member.

Limitations of Social Style

  • One of the main limitations of Social Style Model is that it is based on self-reporting, which can be unreliable and biased. This means that the results of the assessment are not always accurate and can be affected by the individual's opinion and the way in which they answer the questions.
  • Another limitation is that the model does not consider the context in which the individual is interacting. This means that the results may not be as reliable in different scenarios or when interacting with different groups of people.
  • Furthermore, the model does not take into account individual personality traits or motivations, which can be important factors in how an individual behaves.
  • Lastly, the Social Style Model is limited in its ability to predict future behaviour or outcomes, as it only looks at current interactions and is unable to account for any changes that may occur over time.

Other approaches related to Social Style

  • The Johari Window is a technique that people can use to better understand their relationship with themselves and others. It involves the four areas of self-awareness, including the open, hidden, and unknown ‘selves’ and the public space.
  • Transactional Analysis focuses on the dynamics of communication between individuals and how these interactions impact relationships. It is a form of psychotherapy that seeks to identify and resolve conflicts between people.
  • The Big Five Model is a set of five personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism) which are used to describe how people interact with each other.
  • The DISC Model is a behavior assessment tool used to identify an individual’s preferences in communication, problem-solving, and decision-making. It is based on the four personality styles of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance.

In summary, Social Style Model is just one of the many approaches to analyzing interpersonal relationships and understanding the behavior of individuals. Other approaches include the Johari Window, Transactional Analysis, the Big Five Model, and the DISC Model. Each of these approaches has different focuses and perspectives which can be used to better understand individuals and their interactions with one another.


  1. Gambino F.M. (1993)
  2. Pierce F.D. (2005)
  3. Mulqueen C., Ph.D. (2010)
  4. Gambino F.M. (1993)
  5. Mulqueen C., Ph.D. (2010)
  6. Mulqueen C., Ph.D. (2010)
  7. Gambino F.M. (1993)

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Author: Adrianna Lisak