“I can be a bit of a Perfectionist”

It’s a common statement used by many of us, often at an interview when questioned about our strengths and weaknesses. Recent reports by the Guardian, the BBC and a wealth of academic research studies suggest that the ‘perfectionist’ personality trait is more common in today’s society than ever before.

So, are more of us striving for perfection in our work and personal lives and is it a strength or a weakness? - take part in this survey and help us find out.

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Being a Perfectionist has Benefits in Business...

Perfectionism is synonymous with high achievement, conscientiousness, diligence and attention to detail - characteristics that are highly valued in the business world. In fact, some of the world’s most successful leaders and business people are perfectionists - the success of Apple is largely down to the late Steve Jobs' relentless pursuit of perfection in developing the iPhone.

But does Perfectionism have a Negative side too?

Until recently, the negative effects of perfectionism have not been considered in business. Studies involving students have shown that perfectionists experience more stress, higher levels of procrastination and reduced well-being, but are these negative effects exclusive to students or do they extend into the workplace?

How can you Help?

We need employees and the owners of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK to take part in this anonymous online survey, which takes 5-10 minutes to complete. Thank you for your time and valued participation, it is greatly appreciated.

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Peter Tyler
Research Organiser

The purpose of this study is to determine how perfectionism affects stress, well-being and procrastination in employees. To take part you must be an employee of a business, a UK resident and over the age of 18. Your participation is entirely voluntary. Please tick the boxes below and click 'Start Survey' to begin.

Please Tick
1. I confirm that I have read and understood the participant information sheet (click here to view) for this study and have had the opportunity to ask questions.
2. I understand that my participation is voluntary and that I am free to withdraw at anytime without giving a reason.
3. I understand that all the information I provide will be treated in confidence.
4. I understand that I also have the right to change my mind about participating in the study.
5. I agree to take part in this research study.
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INSTRUCTIONS: Listed below are a number of statements concerning personal characteristics and traits. Read each statement carefully and indicate your level of agreement with each one by clicking the relevant number that represents the extent to which you disagree or agree with it. Your responses are completely anonymous so please answer truthfully and without overthinking them.

Disagree Agree
1. One of my goals is to be perfect in everything I do 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2. Everything that others do must be of top-notch quality 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
3. The better I do, the better I am expected to do 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
4. I strive to be as perfect as I can be 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
5. I have high expectations for the people who are important to me 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
6. Success means that I must work even harder to please others 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
7. I demand nothing less than perfection of myself 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8. I can't be bothered with people who won't strive to better themselves 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
9. My family expects me to be perfect 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
10. It is very important that I am perfect in everything I attempt 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
11. If I ask someone to do something, I expect it to be done flawlessly 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
12. I must work to my full potential at all times 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
13. People expect nothing less than perfection from me 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
14. I cannot stand to see people close to me make mistakes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
15. People expect more from me than I am capable of giving 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

INSTRUCTIONS: The questions below ask you about your feelings and thoughts during the last month. Click a number from 0 (Never) to 4 (Very Often) to indicate how often you felt or thought a certain way.

Never Almost Never Sometimes Fairly Often Very Often
1. In the last month, how often have you been upset because of something that happened unexpectedly? 0 1 2 3 4
2. In the last month, how often have you felt that you were unable to control the important things in your life? 0 1 2 3 4
3. In the last month, how often have you felt nervous and "stressed"? 0 1 2 3 4
4. In the last month, how often have you felt confident about your ability to handle your personal problems? 0 1 2 3 4
5. In the last month, how often have you felt that things were going your way? 0 1 2 3 4
6. In the last month, how often have you found that you could not cope with all the things that you had to do? 0 1 2 3 4
7. In the last month, how often have you been able to control irritations in your life? 0 1 2 3 4
8. In the last month, how often have you felt that you were on top of things? 0 1 2 3 4
9. In the last month, how often have you been angered because of things that were outside of your control? 0 1 2 3 4
10. In the last month, how often have you felt difficulties were piling up so high that you could not overcome them? 0 1 2 3 4

The PSS Scale is reprinted with permission of the American Sociological Association, from Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., and Mermelstein, R. (1983). A global measure of perceived stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 24, 386-396. Cohen, S. and Williamson, G. Perceived Stress in a Probability Sample of the United States. Spacapan, S. and Oskamp, S. (Eds.)

INSTRUCTIONS: Read each of the five statements below and then indicate how often you have experienced them over the last two weeks by clicking the relevant number. For example, if you have felt cheerful and in good spirits more than half of the time during the last two weeks, click number 3.

Over the last two weeks At no time Some of the time Less than half of the time More than half of the time Most of the time All of the time
1. I have felt cheerful and in good spirits 0 1 2 3 4 5
2. I have felt calm and relaxed 0 1 2 3 4 5
3. I have felt active and vigorous 0 1 2 3 4 5
4. I woke up feeling fresh and rested 0 1 2 3 4 5
5. My daily life has been filled with things that interest me. 0 1 2 3 4 5

INSTRUCTIONS: Below are four questions about your feelings on aspects of your life. There are no right or wrong answers. For each of these questions please give your answer on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is ‘not at all’ and 10 is ‘completely’.

Not at all Completely
1. Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
2. Overall, to what extent do you feel that the things you do in your life are worthwhile? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
3. Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
4. On a scale where nought is 'not at all anxious' and 10 is 'completely anxious', overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

INSTRUCTIONS: Please read each of the following statements carefully, thinking about how it relates to your life, and then indicate how true it is for you. Use the following scale and click the number that represents you, where 1 is 'Not at all true' and 7 is 'Very True'.

Not at all true Somewhat true Very true
1. I feel like I am free to decide for myself how to live my life. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2. I really like the people I interact with. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
3. Often, I do not feel very competent. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
4. I feel pressured in my life. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
5. People I know tell me I am good at what I do. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
6. I get along with people I come into contact with. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
7. I pretty much keep to myself and don't have a lot of social contacts. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8. I generally feel free to express my ideas and opinions. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
9. I consider the people I regularly interact with to be my friends. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
10. I have been able to learn interesting new skills recently. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
11. In my daily life, I frequently have to do what I am told. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
12. People in my life care about me. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
13. Most days I feel a sense of accomplishment from what I do. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
14. People I interact with on a daily basis tend to take my feelings into consideration. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
15. In my life I do not get much of a chance to show how capable I am. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
16. There are not many people that I am close to. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
17. I feel like I can pretty much be myself in my daily situations. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
18. The people I interact with regularly do not seem to like me much. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
19. I often do not feel very capable. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
20. There is not much opportunity for me to decide for myself how to do things in my daily life. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
21. People are generally pretty friendly towards me. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

INSTRUCTIONS: Please read each of the following statements carefully and then indicate how true it is for you. Click the number on the scale that represents you, where 1 is 'Very Seldom or Not True of You' and 5 is 'Very Often True of You'.

Very seldom or not true of me Seldom true of me Sometimes true of me Often true of me Very often true or true of me
1. I delay making decision until it's too late. 1 2 3 4 5
2. Even after I make a decision I delay acting upon it. 1 2 3 4 5
3. I waste a lot of time on trivial matters before getting to the final decisions. 1 2 3 4 5
4. In preparation for some deadline, I often waste time by doing other things. 1 2 3 4 5
5. Even jobs that require little else except sitting down and doing them. I find that they seldom get done for days. 1 2 3 4 5
6. I often find myself performing tasks that I had intended to do days before. 1 2 3 4 5
7. I am continually saying "I'll do it tomorrow." 1 2 3 4 5
8. I generally delay before starting on work I have to do. 1 2 3 4 5
9. I find myself running out of time. 1 2 3 4 5
10. I don't get things done on time. 1 2 3 4 5
11. I am not very good at meeting deadlines. 1 2 3 4 5
12. Putting things off till the last minute has cost me money in the past. 1 2 3 4 5

Thank you for taking the time to complete the questionnaire on perfectionism, well-being and procrastination. We understand that you are busy, so your time and interest in this study is very much appreciated. Should you later decide that you want to withdraw from the study you can do so at any time by contacting the researcher below.

Perfectionism and its affects on well-being and procrastination have been studied frequently in student and clinical settings, however little empirical research has been conducted that focuses on employees. The current study aims to change that by investigating how perfectionism may be affecting the well-being of employees in UK businesses and their tendency to procrastinate. Furthermore, the study seeks to understand whether different types of perfectionism, namely adaptive and maladaptive perfectionism, can have different affects.

How do I receive the Results of the Research and the Free Perfectionism Guide?

If you would like to receive a copy of the final report detailing the findings of this study, please enter your name and email address in the form below. You can also tick the box below if you would like to receive our free guide to perfectionism, which contains information, advice, resources and tools for keeping perfectionism under control.



- Please send me a copy of the Perfectionism Guide

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Your name and email will only be used for the purpose of emailing you the results of the study, it will not be associated with your survey responses.

Please help by sharing this with your colleagues and friends...

We need to reach as many UK business employees as possible to make this research as accurate and representative as possible. If you know friends and colleagues who would be willing to complete our survey, please help us recruit participants for this important study by sharing this page on social media.

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Finally, if you would like to know more about perfectionism or have any concerns about how it might be impacting your personal or business life, the resources below will provide further information and help for you. For any other questions, please refer to the Participant Information Sheet. If you require any further information on the study, please contact:
Project leader: Peter Tyler, Email: tylerp3@uni.coventry.ac.uk

Thank you again for your time.

Peter Tyler

Further reading on Perfectionism:

If you would like to look into the background behind the research topic, the references provide a good grounding in the subject of perfectionism.

Bieling, P.J., Israeli, A L., Antony, M M. (2004) Is perfectionism good, bad, or both? Examining models of the perfectionism construct, Personality and Individual Differences 36(6), p1373-1385

Suh, H., Gnilka, P.B., and Rice, K.G. (2017) ‘Perfectionism and well-being: A positive psychology framework’. Personality and Individual Differences 111, 25–30

Chang, E.C. (2006) ‘Perfectionism and Dimensions of Psychological Well–Being in A College Student Sample: A Test of a Stress–Mediation Model’. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 25 (9), 1001–1022