Research suggests perfectionism and work motivation contribute to workaholism

Mason is a bit of a perfectionist

Research from psychologists at the University of Kent suggests that being a perfectionist and highly motivated at work contributes directly to being a workaholic.

Led by Dr Joachim Stoeber, Head of the University’s School of Psychology, the research team set out to explore the previously under-researched reasons why some people feel the need to work both excessively and compulsively.

Dr Stoeber and his team researched the links between workaholism and two forms of perfectionism: self-oriented perfectionism, whereby someone sets exceedingly high standards for themselves, and socially-prescribed perfectionism, whereby someone feels that others have high standards and that acceptance by others is conditional on fulfilling these standards.

Among their findings, they discovered that self-oriented perfectionists showed significantly higher levels of workaholism. This was partly due to this group being motivated by a number of internal and external drivers — such as self-control and rewards — that push them towards workaholism. In contrast, socially-prescribed perfectionists were not likely to become workaholics.

Dr Stoeber said: ‘Our findings suggest that self-oriented perfectionism and work motivation contribute to workaholism, whereas socially prescribed perfectionism does not.

‘Our findings also suggest that workaholism in self-oriented perfectionists is driven by those types of motivation characterized by personal importance and ego involvement as well as being motivated by internal rewards and punishment.’

Source: University of Kent