Traits measured

The Octogram measures its 8 behavioral patterns based on Quinn’s Competing Values Model. The Octogram provides insight into a candidate’s preferred styles at work.octroles_1

The Octogram measures the extent of affinity with eight behavioral dispositions, work styles, and leadership styles. The test consists of a collection of statements/adjectives that are a sample of the work behavior of employees with executive and managerial roles. The candidate is presented with adjectives that can impact on several aspects of the preferred styles, like examples of behavior, attitudes, drives, and affinities. Because the behavior is put in a work context, we talk in the Octogram about ‘work style’ or ‘leadership style’ when it concerns a managerial behavior.

Number of questions

This test contains 36 questions

Time limit

There is no time limit. The estimated time for completing the test is 14 minutes

Goal of this test

How do you work? What types of work are stressful for you? What types of work fit your personality best? These are the questions that the Octogram test is answering.

Education levels

The Octogram test is appropriate for candidates with the following education levels:

  • Associates Degree
  • Bachelors Degree
  • Doctorate Degree / PhD
  • Masters Degree
  • Post-secondary non-tertiary education
  • Short-cycle tertiary education (practical/occupational)

Available Norm Groups

Your scores are compared to how other, similarly educated, people scored. Here is a list of the currently available group definitions with their own norm group. If we do not have a close match to you, we fall back to comparing you to the general population. When used in hiring or selection situations, age and gender norms should be ignored.

B4    SB234    SB34    B34    B234    B2G1    B2G2    B3G1    B3G2    B4G1    B4G2    B2Lft1    B2Lft2    B2Lft3    B3Lft1    B3Lft2    B3Lft3    B4Lft1    B4Lft2    B4Lft3    B2    B3    B2L1    B3L1   B4L1

Key Interpretation
S Selection, Hiring, or Recruiting
B Development or Coaching
1,2,3,4 Education level of candidate
G Gender of candidate where 1 is ‘male’ and 2 is ‘female’.
Lft Age range of the candidate:
Lft1 = < 30 years old
Lft2 = 31 to 45 years old
Lft3 = 46+ years old


Each item contains four adjectives (or, in some cases, brief descriptions) that refer to behavioral patterns.oct_test_screenshot

How to answer

You will be presented with a set of four (4) statements or word groups. Your task is to order these statements from the one that is most true or applicable to you on top to the one that is least true or applicable on the bottom. You can move these statements around by using your mouse cursor to drag and drop the items higher or lower on the list.


An adjective that is judged to be ‘most applicable’ is awarded 4 points, the next adjectives are awarded 3 and 2 points, respectively, while the adjective judged to be ‘least applicable’ receives 1 point. Thus, a total of 10 points is distributed over each set of adjectives. Each adjective represents a test scale. The Octogram consists of 8 scales, each scale being systematically combined 18 times with the other scales in the test. The points awarded are summed up for each scale. The theoretical minimum for each scale is 18 and the theoretical maximum 72, for each scale the arithmetic mean is 45. If a candidate does not skip any questions, then his/her total number of points is always 10 x 36 = 360.

When to use


The ‘iceberg model’ is a way of describing how people behave. The small portion of their visible (to others) behavior is influenced by a much larger portion of their total personality, motivations, drives and values. The Octogram is on the border between these visible behaviors and the underlying causes for those behaviors.

The Octogram has many applications. The Octogram is located around the waterline, in iceberg terms. It is partially evident which style someone uses, and otherwise the Octogram will explore what lies below the waterline. The special nature of the Octogram, in the sense of items in the form of adjectives that influence several aspects, means the Octogram offers tools when answering a range of questions in the field of: Who am I? What can I do? What do I want?

The Octogram answers the following questions, among other things:

  •  In which role do I feel most comfortable?
  • What is my manner of working?
  • What are my strengths?
  • What are my weaknesses?
  • What do I derive energy from in my work (work flow), or what gives me no energy?

The Octogram is very suitable for selection processes and different types of supervisory processes. Like all other tests, the results of the Octogram are presented in Stanine scores. If a person scores rather high (8 or 9), there is a good chance that their affinity with these roles is so strong that the associated pitfalls also apply to this person. They are described in the report in those cases. To interpret the results, it is advisable to start with a rough analysis of the evident trend. Which quadrants are most prominent? On which side of the figure is the candidate located? Which response bias do you see?

Statistical Research

We have a statistical way of verifying the quality of a test, this measurement, called Cronbach’s Alpha, is a way of stating how well the items within a trait correlate with each other. A trait will have several test items associated with it, higher correlations mean that the items are measuring the same thing. On this scale, a 0 would represent no correlation between the items and a 1.00 would represent perfect alignment. For a test to be considered valid, traits should have a Cronbach’s Alpha score above 0.70.

Trait What it measures Validity Score
Pioneer Pioneers are innovators and dreamers with fresh ideas and continuously trying to do things in a different way. They take the initiative when it comes to making changes exploring open-ended creativity. 0.76
Networker Networkers build relationships with new contacts, express their emotions freely, and are open to others. They are enthusiastic communicators, keenly interested in meeting new people. 0.79
Achiever Achievers are driven, ambitious, and self-motivated. They make high demands on themselves and others. They are continuously aiming high and competitive. 0.72
Strategist The strategist is the long term thinker, defining goals and thinking about how to reach those goals. The strategist identifies fundamental problems and is creative in looking for effective solutions to those problems. 0.78
Anchor Anchors want order, structure, and quality. They see themselves as system builders and people who create order out of chaos. They are thorough and make sure that work is completed properly. 0.8
Analyst Analysts seek to break problems apart and weigh alternatives. These are the people in the organization that are ‘the voice of reason’. Analysts prefer dealing with facts, focus on being rational, and looking at situations from different perspectives. 0.72
Team Player The Team Players are the binding elements in your company that keep people working together and keep the atmosphere upbeat and supportive. Team Players are focused on building consensus, team harmony, and conflict management. 0.8
Helper Helpers are understanding and take the time to listen to others. They have a good insights into the feelings and lives of others. Helpers understand the art of supporting the emotional well being of other people. Helpers work to improve communication, develop others, and help others achieve their full potential. Where a Team Player is more focused on the group, a Helper is more focused on individuals. 0.78

Correlation with other instruments

The Octogram test traits are measuring unique aspects of behavior and the items within each of those traits correlate closely together. The next step is to see if the Octogram traits are measuring what we think they are measuring. The best way to prove this is by asking candidates to take the Octogram and other, previously proven, psychometric tests and looking at how they compare to each other.

The Octogram vs the Big 5 model

The Octogram vs the MBTI

The Octogram vs the Octogram

Looking at the associations of the Octogram to itself, we can see how the traits relate to each other directly. It was this research that allowed us to make sure that the traits are placed in the correct positions on the circle. Remember, traits that are far from each other should have a strong negative correlation (they rarely agree with each other) and traits that are close together should have a relatively high correlation with each other (the traits usually agree with each other).

This output was taken directly from the statistical analysis report:

Pioneer Networker Achiever Strategist Anchor Analyst Team player Helper
Pioneer 1.00 0.42 0.08 -0.14 -0.58 -0.40 -0.04 -0.08
Networker 0.42 1.00 0.20 -0.13 -0.57 -0.50 0.06 -0.24
Achiever 0.08 0.20 1.00 0.15 -0.05 -0.17 -0.40 -0.63
Strategist -0.14 -0.13 0.15 1.00 -0.12 0.29 -0.37 -0.50
Anchor -0.58 -0.57 -0.05 -0.12 1.00 0.35 -0.22 0.10
Analyst -0.40 -0.50 -0.17 0.29 0.35 1.00 -0.37 -0.05
Team player -0.04 0.06 -0.40 -0.37 -0.22 -0.37 1.00 0.40
Helper -0.08 -0.24 -0.63 -0.50 0.10 -0.05 0.40 1.00

In this analysis, correlations above .2 or below -.2 are “significant”. This table was produced from a random selection of 2000 candidates from the database. Running this analysis over an over again shows a variation of no more than +/- .05, a stable result.


What were some of the peer-reviewed research articles and books we used to put together the Octogram Model?

  • Quinn, R. E., Rohrbaugh J. 1983. A spatial model of effectiveness criteria: towards a competing values approach to organizational analysis. Management Science, vol.29. No 3.
  • Quinn, R.E. 1991. Beyond Rational Management, Mastering the Paradoxes and Competing Demands of High Performance. Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco
    Hooijberg, R. and Petrock, F. 1993. On cultural change: Using the competing values framework to help leaders execute a transformational strategy. Hum. Resour. Manage., 32: 29–50. doi: 10.1002/hrm.3930320103
  • Goodman, Eric A; Zammuto, Raymond F; Gifford, Blair D. Organization Development Journal19.3 (Fall 2001): 58-68.
  • Quinn, Robert E. Becoming a master manager: a competing values approach. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.


  1. The Octogram measures specific traits.
  2. It measures those traits accurately.
  3. The traits are in the correct position in the graphic.
  4. The traits measure what we think they are measuring.