Frequently Asked Questions

The PDA Assessment is a powerful tool that, through a simple, accurate and scientific methodology, allows you to know, discover and analyse the behavioural profile of individuals.

Through the PDA Assessment you will be able to obtain a quick description of the behavioural profile of employees and candidates, identifying their strengths and developmental areas. Complete reports – with text and graphs – can be generated. PDA Reports help empower recruiting and human capital development processes.

The PDA Assessment measures the behavioural profile of individuals through the description and detailed knowledge of their skills, strengths and developmental areas. The PDA Assessment does not describe behavioural profiles as good or bad, it describes the behavioural characteristics of the assessed individuals.

The PDA Assessment also provides information related to the commercial skills of individuals, identifying how they generate new contacts, how they relate and negotiate, how they close sales, how they follow-up clients, etc. Likewise, it contemplates managerial skills of individuals, identifying how they make decisions, how they motivate others, how they lead, how they develop their collaborators, how they communicate with others, among others.

The PDA Assessment was designed to measure surface aspects – behaviours that are observed and can be reported. Each behaviour dimension – risk, extroversion, patience, norms and self-control – is measured with reliability. Marston concentrated on neurological emotions – the relationship between reactions and physical behaviour. His theory of the person in an environmental interaction is used to explain the emotional experience, which is always changing, instead of the person’s permanent disposition. Therefore, it is essential not to refer to surface aspects, such as being risky, extroverted, patient, proceed according to norms or self-controlled as if these were core aspects of personality. This means that we must consider the Risk, Extroversion, Patience, Norms and Self-control tendencies not as internal and deep disposition, but as semantic labels for behavioural patterns that can vary from one situation to another. A person can use the PDA Assessment as a tool for self-knowledge and to know others, and its value is increased then comparing different situations. However, this is the “describe the behaviour” level, not the “explain what such behaviour causes”, what the instrument provides as valid information.

At the same time, with the PDA Assessment one can generate different Compatibility Studies that allow us to determine individuals’ strengths and potential areas to be developed; individuals’ capacity to successfully adapt to a given position; the competencies required by the organization and by the position; and even work team compatibility.

PDA does not measure pathologies or intelligence. This implies that it cannot assess the psychological health of people. The PDA Assessment does not describe either the performance of people, but describes their job profile, with their strengths and potential developmental areas to perform in certain positions. Remember that a successful person is not only determined by their job profile, it is also influenced by experience, training, motivation, guidance and leadership, among other factors.

Administering PDA is very simple. It can be administered online (the person accesses a web link) or face-to-face. To administer the PDA Form, the facilitator should create a favourable environment for its completion. This means, whether in person, via web or email, provide a comfortable environment to complete the PDA Form, and clearly explain the purpose and intention of the assessment.

If working with online administration, once the individuals complete the PDA Form, the system automatically sends a notice to the email address previously configured in the system.

The PDA Assessment allows generating written and graphic reports to perform in-depth analysis. To obtain more information about the different PDA Reports, click here

  • Behavioural Descriptors
  • Behavioural Profile Description
  • Management Style
  • Decision-Making Style
  • How to lead the individual successfully
  • Persuasion Skills
  • Analytical Skills
  • Sales Style
  • Motivation Level
  • Main Skills & Strengths
  • Developmental areas

  • The PDA Chart is an easy to interpret bar graph that allows the administrators to know the natural profile of the assessed individual. It includes a brief description of the profile of the person in relation to each of the five axes assessed by the PDA Assessment and their intensities.

  • The Behavioural Profile Chart is a comprehensive line chart that allows administrators to know the Natural profile of the assessed individual in-depth. It includes many additional indicators to the PDA Chart, but requires a higher level of interpretation and analysis for each aspect of the graph.

    It is highly recommended to certify as PDA Analyst in order to better understand the results obtained through the tool. Certification will allow understanding and analysing the behavioural style of individuals both in their natural (Natural) and Role (Role) Profiles. The PDA Analyst will also be able to interpret the indicators that refer to Profile Intensity, available Energy Level and Energy Balance.

    The PDA Radar Chart allows observation of the energy distribution of the individual in relation to the Proactivity-Reactivity and Task-orientation and People-orientation Axes.

    The PDA Wheel Chart also allows observation of the energy distribution of the person and additionally describes a list of behavioural characteristics related to the behavioural style of the individual.

    The Behavioural Radar Chart allows observation of the compatibility degree the person has regarding a list of 16 Behavioural Competencies. The competencies are: initiative, persuasion, influence, independence, advice, service and support, kindness, patience, precision, concentration, analysis, obedience, planning, dynamism, determination, expeditiousness. This graph includes a detailed description of each competence and not only allows to observe the compatibility with each of them, but also to group competencies that we can consider “strengths” and “developmental areas.”

The information provided by the PDA Assessment is very easy to interpret and apply. PDA International offers training to users. The PDA Analyst certification is obtained through the Certification Seminar. This Seminar includes the consolidation of the theoretical and conceptual basis, practical work, case studies. It has a duration of three days and the purpose is to transmit a solid base of knowledge for generating specific and proper actions with the information provided by the PDA Assessment.

Considering the depth of the PDA Assessment, users are required to obtain a PDA Analyst certificate. This Certification allows users to reach a deep and comprehensive interpretation level of the information provided by the PDA Assessment. PDA Analysts will be able to administer the PDA Assessment, interpret the graphs and successfully apply the PDA Assessment.

The PDA Assessment is supported on numerous theories and statistical studies. It is a scientifically proven tool with 90% reliability. To access the Technical Manual and other studies that explain and describe its validity, reliability and theoretical basis, we invite you visit the following link:

The PDA Assessment holds a Validity Certificate for its application. In 2000, demographic and semantic studies allowed the validation of the tool. These studies involved the administration of the PDA Form to more than 3500 people from different countries and social classes.

In 2011, it was validated by the American Institute of Business Psychology (AIOBP). This study certified the validity and reliability of the PDA Assessment for its implementation worldwide.

Also, we are currently managing new revisions of the PDA Assessment in the EFPA (European Federation of Psychologists Associations) and HPCSA (Health Professions Council of South Africa).

We understand that the main backing of the instrument comes from its high degree of success achieved through thousands of applications in recruitment and talent management, which strengthen the consistency and support its "empirical validity.”

Psychometric experts have assessed the validity of the evaluation methodology by comparing it with various tools and methodologies, such as:

  • • Wechsler Adult Intelligence Test (WAIS).
  • • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
  • • Cattell 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (16-PF).
  • • Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI).

For more information go to PDA Theory.

It strictly complies with the standards of the EEO Guide (Equal Employment Opportunities), which requires the following points:

  • It must be developed according to the rules of the American Psychological Association (Standards for Exam and Test).
  • Technical Manual.
  • It must be related to employment – (Recruiting or Job Definition to generate “fair and objective” Compatibility Studies).
  • It must have validity in relation to its structure and criteria.
  • It must have proven reliability.

The measurement method applied by the PDA Assessment has been used and proven on thousands of people in various fields. Several psychological associations and societies have made numerous tests on the reliability of the system and have determined that its accuracy exceeds 90%.

After Marston developed the theory of Emotions of Normal People, different assessment tools began to emerge based on their concepts. These tools were developed with a focus on the advantages and benefits that this methodology provided both in the military and the workplace. The tools that emerged in that very beginning are the "complete" tools, also known as "pure" tools because they contain all the indicators and are based on the original model, without any reductions or simplifications (e.g. PDA Assessment).

Once the assessed individual completed the Form, the Analyst carried out a mathematical process to obtain the results for interpreting the information provided. This process was operatively slow and complex: the Analyst took about two hours to reach the results.

In the late ‘60s, Dr. John Geier from University of Minnesota conducted research on Marston's model and made several modifications with the purpose of simplifying the mathematical process so that the tool was simpler and more applicable. The model that is currently known as DiSC was thus born. It is a simplification or synthesis of the complete Marston model that determines the "pure" tools, such as the PDA Assessment.

The basis of the change provided by Geier was the "modification of the form.” Although the time since the person completed the form and the Analyst could interpret the results was significantly shortened, a lot of valuable information for the interpretation was lost. Such information includes:

  • Axis Intensity: measures the intensity of each behavioural trend.
  • Profile Intensity: measures the commitment of the assessed individual to his/her own behavioural style. It helps to know the person’s level of flexibility/rigidity.
  • Energy Level: the amount of energy available. It helps to know the level of motivation and stress.
  • Consistency Indicator: measures the level of consistency and quality of information.
  • Self-control Axis: the fifth Axis measures the ability of individuals to control their impulses and emotions. This axis is strongly associated with Emotional Intelligence.

As from the ‘90s, with the possibility that each HR employee count with a PC on their desk, Internet access and the ability to systematize the process of "uploading the form" and generating automatic graphics and reports, the benefits of complete and pure tools remerged. For example, the PDA Assessment brings over the simplifications offered by the Cleaver model (DiSC).

The three steps are the only stages of PDA Form. The theories and studies that support the tool indicate that the information gathered in every step is relevant and enough. Perhaps, from a first glance it may seem simple or excessively short. However, it is important to understand that the PDA Assessment has a projective nature and, that through these three steps, collects an enormous amount of information. Consider that each of the words on the form has no meaning, but each person completing the form will give his/her own meaning, and that meaning is related to how each person is and how he/she perceives the word and the environment. Every person responds to situations and behaves according to how he/she perceives each situation. There are two lists of 86 words; the possible combinations of words are infinite.

Recruitment and Selection:
Information about the work profile of candidates. Correlation of the candidates profile with the position. Simple and fast online assessment. Centralization of candidates’ information. Information for interviews.

Potential & Development:
Development of key abilities. Information for individual and group counselling and coaching. Identification of strengths and potential weaknesses. Opportunity areas. Valuable information for preparing a career guide.

Leadership Development:
Identification and development of new leaders. Strengthening and developing management skills. Analysis of different leadership styles. Study of group trends. Design of activities for developing management skills.

Team Integration:
Information about the work profile of groups. Communication styles and listening abilities. Productive integration of members of a work team. Design of group activities.

Identification of training needs. Analysis of strengths and weaknesses. Design of customized activities to suit the needs of the group. Action plans by PDA Consulting.

the PDA Assessment is an excellent tool to complement coaching process. In addition, MyPDACoach application ( provides Coaches a different and effective solutions for their coaching sessions and workshops.

Programs for Young Professionals:
Attraction and selection of youth with potential. Career Plans. Developmental areas. Monitoring and coaching.

For more information about these and other application areas, visit PDA Consulting Portal

The answer is yes, definitely. With PDA you can generate studies that measure the compatibility of people with:

1) Predefined positions: 22 profiles divided into three categories (Sales, Leadership and Administration), which cover a wide range of alternatives and possibilities in reference to the behavioural requirements of job positions within an organization.

2) Customized positions: PDA International offers consulting solutions oriented towards the Identification of the JOB Profile for defining the customized behavioural profile of the position.

The answer is yes, definitely. With the PDA Assessment you can generate studies that measure the compatibility of person with:

1) PDA competencies: This is a generic model defined by PDA Consultants. It is based on the "classic" competencies that are included in the Competency Dictionary of major companies.

2) Customer’s competencies: Customer's own model describing their Competency Dictionary.

For the last option, you must conduct a detailed study of that model in order to translate it into the PDA language, as the profile or leadership style that a client requires, needs or proposes to develop is related to their own culture, market, values, strategy, etc. This detailed study is what we call competence customization model.

The Consistency Indicator integrates a number of variables whose consistency or inconsistency measure the degree of reliability and consistency of the information. This Indicator warns about inconsistency in cases where the person tries to falsify information, does not understand and/or does not comply with the instruction.

When the inconsistency is total, the system generates an Invalid Profile Report.

We understand that the PDA Assessment should never be the "only tool" used in a process that leads us to gather all the information needed to make the best decision. Working with the results of the PDA Assessment as an important part of a process is the best way to use it and avoid surprises.

Absolutely. It is extremely likely that the profile of a person changes over time, but these changes tend to be moderate. It is difficult that a person will change his/her "basic features.” In PDA terms, it is less likely that the predominant axes will suffer changes, since they are the prevailing characteristics of behaviour.

It is important to note that we are referring to people and, as there are more changing individuals, others are more faithful or attached to their behavioural style. An individual’s environment and how it affects changes therein (work, boss, family, etc.), also affect this aspect.

This depends on each individuals and the environment. The information of a person's PDA Report is valuable and consistent for a one year. However, if there have been significant changes in the environment, we can re-assess the person to validate the information.

The PDA Assessment is currently available in Spanish, English, Portuguese, Dutch, French, Romanian, Italian, Russian, Greek, Farsi and Arabic.

The PDA Assessment is composed of one Form that can be administered to any person disregarding if he/she is an employee or candidate, or the position the person will occupy.

PDA International sells and implements the PDA Assessment.

PDA International counts on a web of Partners and Distributors who sell the PDA Assessment worldwide, providing local support and HR Consulting Solutions leveraged on the individual and group analysis generated by the PDA Assessment. Visit the Map of Partners to know more about the official web of PDA International distributors.

Completing the PDA From takes the individual 15-20 minutes.

It measures the "ability to think" of the person before he/she acts, the reasoning and judging process.

People who have a high Self-control Axis tend to be more rational, colder and controlled. They base their behaviour and responses on logic and facts.

People who have a low Self-control Axis tend to be more emotional, sensitive and spontaneous. They base their behaviour and responses on their feelings and emotions.

The Self-control Axis is independent and is not “physically” integrated to Marston’s matrix, since each Axis affects the other four Axes. This means that it acts upon the person’s behavioural profile and this is the profile that will be correlated –to a larger o minor extent – with the position’s profile.

Although the PDA Assessment may be completed at 13-16 years of age, it is recommended that it be completed once the individual is 16-18 years old. This is because the person’s self-concept will be more defined and stable. Therefore, variations in the behavioural profile over time are considerably reduced.

If you decide to administer the PDA Assessment to someone under 16, it is important to consider that the information provided by the PDA Report will be a valid descriptor of the behavioural profile of the young person at that time, and will likely suffer variations in the coming years, since the individual will probably alter his/her self-concept.

When an individual completes the PDA Form and the result is “Invalid Report”, the system informs that the amount and quality of the information the system has is extremely basic and limited. The person is not reflecting a clear or defined behavioural trend. Instead, he/she is showing an extremely flexible style – almost inconsistent – stating: “I can be anything you want me to be.” This stops the system from generating a Report. Some of the causes that lead to this inconsistency could be that the person, when completing the Form, did not understand the instruction or was interrupted or lost concentration or is going through some “crisis” circumstance or situation that affects his/her possibility to define him/herself consistently.

When the PDA Assessment is Invalid, opening the Report does not consume any credits. In fact, it is recommended that you open it to analyse the indicators and consider if it is convenient to ask the person to complete it again. It is also recommendable to investigate with the person in order to know if there is something affecting him/her and thus decide whether to take the PDA Assessment again or not.

If it is convenient to ask the person to complete the Form again (because you evidenced that the cause of the inconsistency was not following the instructions, among other reasons), you can invite the individual to complete it again. Always reconfirm the instructions and emphasise that he/she must be in a quiet setting, not receive interruptions, be spontaneous, etc.

When the person clearly expresses that he/she is going through a crisis, it is not advisable to ask him/her to complete the form again. This would expose the person to more anxiety and demands. It can be convenient to let a prudential time pass so that the situation disappears and the individual can express more consistently.

If the person completes the PDA Assessment for the second time and the result is Invalid despite having gone over the instructions, you can suspect that there is a personal situation that does not allow him/her to define clearly and that is why he/she falls in certain inconsistencies. In this case, it is not recommendable that you ask the person to complete the PDA Form again. Let a prudential time pass so that the situation disappears and the individual can express more consistently.

An alternative is to contact the person to understand the reason of the Invalid Profile. On the other hand, communication is an opportunity to reinforce the instructions and avoid that the result is Invalid the next time he/she completes the Form.

Take into account that “everything is information,” since it is uncommon that a person will obtain an Invalid Profile twice.

If a group of assessed individuals obtains Invalid Profiles, the administrator should warn this, reinforce and improve the instructions and communication in order to manage the potential anxiety the group may be going through.