In a world where recreation programs compete for participants, administrators and programmers constantly strive for new and creative programming ideas, as well as new ways of offering traditional programs. Leisure programming demands that recreation professionals be in tune with the clients they serve, not just with the programs they provide (Edginton, Hanson, & Edginton, 1993; Russell, 1982).
Program administrators and leaders must recognize that while everyone has differences, those differences are neither good nor bad, they are simply different. Too often value and worth are attributed to differences, thus negatively affecting individuals with lesser attributed value. Recreation professionals must consciously acknowledge that each participant is unique. In recognizing participants' unique qualities, program leaders can understand personal styles and preferences manifested through attitudes and behaviors.
This article provides a framework for understanding personal behavioral styles. This framework is based on the DiSC[TM] dimensions of behavior model (figure 1). The DiSC model characterizes behaviors by placing them along two continuums related to speed of pace and task/relationship orientation. After explaining the DiSC model, the implications for programming and program leadership will be discussed.
The DISC model
DiSC is a two-axis, four-factor model that focuses on personal behavior styles in specific situations. The model has been used extensively in business, management, and educational settings and is applicable to recreational settings as well. According to Howe and Carpenter (1985), an understanding of intrinsic and extrinsic psychological factors which include behavioral responses can assist program planners and leaders.
Personal style preferences are flexible and float along a continuum, but there is a core of behaviors with which an individual feels most comfortable and which can be predicted (O'Connor & Merwin, 1988). Program leaders must be aware of and sensitive to participant styles to effectively meet participants' needs.
Using the DiSC model, personal styles can be explained by examining four dimensions that result from the intersection of the two continuums: fast paced/task oriented, fast paced/relationship oriented, slow …