Merrill Reid Social Styles

Updated April 17, 2017

In 1984, psychologists David Merrill and Roger Reid published "Personal Styles and Effective Performance." In the book, they argue that there are four social styles that affect the way that people interact with each other. Behavioural styles are influenced by two dimensions; assertiveness, or the degree of forcefulness in behaviour, and responsiveness, or the degree to which behaviour is emotionally expressive.


According to Merill and Reid, the analyzer social style combines low levels of assertiveness and responsiveness. Analyzers take precise and systematic approaches to their work and usually gather and analyse information before they act. Analyzers tend to be industrious, well-organised and have a preference for objectivity and order, according to Professor Alan Darling of Pittsburgh University. Analyzers are most likely to be found working in engineering, accounting and law.


Drivers are high in assertiveness and low in responsiveness. Their main priority is to achieve positive results with the task at hand. When under pressure, a driver asserts herself strongly and tries to control the pace and direction of a project or task, according to Obsessed with high performance and constantly working at a fast pace, drivers are "easily irritated by inefficiency" and indecision, as notes. Consequently, drivers are most likely to be found working in high-pressure environments, such as sales.


People who are low in assertiveness and high in responsiveness are characterised as having an amiable social style. According to the Merrill and Reid model, amiable people "work well with others" and "prefer to maintain relationships and avoid confrontation," as stated by Working at a "slow and easy pace," as writes, amiable people work better when given a specific task to do, under supervision. According to Alan Darling, professor at Pittsburgh University, they are most likely to be found in nursing, counselling and classroom teaching.


Expressive people are high in both assertiveness and responsiveness. "Friendly and easy-going," expressive people work at a fast pace and try to "create an environment that encourages flexibility," according to They like to try new and different activities and "embody an 'in the here and now' attitude towards life," as states. They "tend to have happy spirits and can endure hardships" better than other personality styles, as notes. Consequently, they tend to be more attracted to positions in advertising, entertainment and the arts.

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About the Author

Kaye Jones has been a freelance writer since 2009, specializing in history, education and mental health. Her undergraduate dissertation was published by the Internet Journal of Criminology. Jones has a first-class honors Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Manchester.