Negative perfectionism: Examining negative excessive behavior in the workplace

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Journal Article

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Interim status: Citation only.

Leonard, N. H., & Harvey, M. (2008). Negative perfectionism: Examining negative excessive behavior in the workplace. Journal of applied social psychology, 38(3), 585-610.

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2008 HERDC submission. FoR Code: 1701

© Copyright Nancy H. Leonard & Michael Harvey, 2008.
Journal Compilation © Copyright Blackwell Publishing, Inc., 2008


The present paper explores the concept of negative perfectionism in the workplace. Negative perfectionism is unremitting and compulsive behavior in the process of striving to meet one's goals. We proposed that 4 types of negative or excessive behavior result from negative perfectionism in organizational settings: compulsive behavior, neurotic behavior, imposter behavior, and narcissistic behavior. Self-concept-based motivation theory was used as a framework for understanding how inaccuracies or inconsistencies between the evaluation of one's behavior in the workplace (goal-setting behavior) and the type of feedback cues to which one decides to attend (feedback-seeking behavior) might lead to these types of negative or excessive behaviors. Personal and managerial implications of negative perfectionism in organizational settings are discussed.

. . . when personal characteristics grate harmfully on others or significantly derail the success of the persons themselves, psychologists regard them not just as personality traits, but as personality disorders.
—Miller (1998)

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This document has been peer reviewed.