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Merrill-Reid Social / Personality Styles

Merrill-Reid social styles are a Jungian based set of personality assessments dating back to the 1960s. There are four personality types based on two dichotomies: Are you introverted or extroverted, and are you better with people or data.

Summary by The World of Work Project

Merrill-Reid Personality Styles

The Merrill-Reid / Wilson model is a very simple model of personality. Like all personality models, it states that people can be categorized into groups, and that each of these groups has specific needs, wants, styles and behaviors.

By understanding which group we are in, we can build our understanding of our own personality and thus our self awareness. Similarly, by understanding the personalities of others, we can build our empathy and become more effective at working with them.

As with most personality tests / assessments, there is limited evidence to support the outcomes of the Merrill-Reid model.

The Merrill-Reid Personality Types

The Merrill-Reid model categories people into roughly two dichotomies, making it quite easy to visualize as a 2×2 matrix.

The dimensions used by Merrill and Reid are basically: are you introverted or extroverted and do you prefer people or data.

Based on these categories, the Merrill-Reid model produces four different personality types: Analytical, Driving, Expressive and Amiable. These are presented as colors and are quite similar to personality types produced by other personality models. We look at them each briefly below.

Analytical

Analytical individuals are constantly analyzing, looking for pros and cons and asking questions. They may be brilliant at generating ideas or solving problems, but they may also over-analyze and get stuck in “analysis paralysis”.

Driving

Drivers are often strong personalities who are motivated and sometimes forceful in their efforts to reach their goals. They often take the lead and are quick to action. They may come across as dominant and brash.

Oh yes… I’m in control of my fancy car. And I’ve got a fancy watch too.

Expressive

Expressive people are sociable, talkative and comfortable with others. They are great at communicating and enthusing others, but are not always great at actual delivery of tasks.

How about we all just get along?

Amiable

Amiable people are calm, relaxed, hard to excite and will generally go out of their way not to upset others. They tend to want harmony, but at times this desire and some of their other traits can lead others to think they are indifferent.

The World of Work Project View

This is a pretty simple model which was created in the 1960’s and is quite similar to several other personality type models.

This tool may be useful for building self awareness and getting to know other people, which helps with team building. People very much like to feel understood and often relate to the outputs of personality models of this type, and feel valued and perhaps vindicated in being who they are when they read their personal reports.

As with all such models, there’s not much evidence behind Jungian based personality outputs and it’s not really possible to group complex humans into simple categories like this. Given this, have fun with models like this, but take them with a pinch of salt.

Sources and further reading

Where possible we always recommend that people read up on the original sources of information and ideas.

This post is based on original work by David Merrill and Roger Reid. To learn more about this topic, as a starting point you might consider reading their book, “The social styles handbook“.

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