Being highly motivated and a perfectionist may seem like dream attributes in an employee, but a new study suggests they could also backfire by contributing to workaholism.
However, not not all kinds of perfectionism are alike when it comes to turning into a workaholic. What University of Kent researchers termed "self-oriented perfectionism," which is when a person sets incredibly high standards for his or herself, was linked with workaholism, while "socially prescribed perfectionism," which is when a person believes he or she needs to meet others' high standards to receive acceptance, was 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," study researcher Dr. Joachim Stoeber, who is the head of the School of Psychology at the university, said in a statement.
The study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, is based on data from 131 people (comprised of both service employees and students who were working part-time) who were mostly female. All the study participants took tests gauging their perfectionism and work motivation, as well as their workaholism (work addiction).
Researchers found that "employees whose work motivation is characterized by high degrees of congruence and awareness of reasons and goals being in synthesis with the self (identified regulation) and/or by high degrees of self-control and ego-involvement and being motivated by internal rewards and punishments (introjected regulation) are more likely to show elevated levels of workaholism compared to employees whose work motivation displays these characteristics to lower degrees," they wrote in the study.
While working long hours may be nice for your paycheck, it could be doing a serious number on your health. Research has linked working 11 hours or more a day with an increased risk of depression, compared with people who work seven to eight hours daily. And while the details are still murky, speculation has risen that a Bank of America intern's recent death might have had something to do with being overworked.