COPSYCHOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF PERFECTIONISM IN UNIVERSITY TEACHING STAFF
The present system of tertiary education imposes demanding requirements on both university teaching staff professional activity and their personality. Therefore, determining the factors that predispose them to self-development and self-improvement is essential. One of these factors is perfectionism which implies a person’s straining for excellence in all realms of life.
Having analysed the works by W. Parker, R. Slaney, L. Terry-Short, D. Hamachek, S. Vasilyeva, Yu. Yenikolopov, M. Larskikh, E. Sokolova, P. Tsigankova, and V. Yasnaya, we have identified the following psychological characteristics of perfectionism: motivation for success, motivation to avoid failure, self-actualization and attitude toward self.
The aim of the study was to examine the specificities of the psychological characteristics of perfectionism and their manifestation in university teaching staff members.
The sample contained 162 faculty members from Ural universities (64 men and 98 women); the participants’ average age was 39.8.
The following standardised methodologies were used in the empirical study:
1. The Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale, developed by P. Hewitt and G. Flett, that allows measuring the level of perfectionism and identifying the correlation between its constituents. The authors distinguish between three aspects of perfectionism: self-oriented perfectionism, other-oriented perfectionism, and socially prescribed perfectionism.
2. T. Elers’s methodology “Motivation for success” used to measure the strength of a person’s striving for goal achievement, for success.
3. T. Elers’s methodology “Motivation to avoid failure” designed to diagnose the level of protective behaviour.
4. E. Shostrom’s test that measures self-actualization as a multidimensional value using the following scale: orientation in time, support, value orientation, behavioural flexibility, sensitivity, spontaneity, self-esteem, self-acceptance, the idea of human nature, synergy, aggression acceptance, sociability, cognitive needs, creativity.
5. The questionnaire devised by V.Stolin and S. Panteleev that allows identifying three levels of attitude toward self, different in the degree of generality: global attitude toward self; the attitude toward self differentiated by self-respect, self-sympathy, self-interest and expectations about attitude to self; the level of specific actions related to the attitude toward self (readiness for such actions).
The survey was anonymous with each participant receiving a set of questionnaires individually.
The survey revealed that university teaching staff members show destructive perfectionism characterised by the following: motivation for success, striving to attain perfection in every activity, straining to do everything correctly and comparing behaviour with an externally imposed standard, inability to quickly and adequately respond to situation changes, negative attitude toward self, not accepting their own personality, experiencing acute negative feelings resulting from their non-compliance with high standards.
Hence, it is essential to mobilize the university teaching staff inner psychological resources and help them develop the psychological qualities related to constructive perfectionism.