Conscientious Personality Type

Conscientious Personality Type
Dr. John M. Oldham has defined the Conscientious personality type in his The New Personality Self-Portrait.

  • Hard work. The Conscientious person is dedicated to work, works very hard, and is capable of intense effort.
  • The right thing. These are men and women of strong moral principles and values. Opinions and beliefs on any subject are rarely held lightly. Conscientious individuals want to do the right thing.
  • The right way. Everything must be done “right,” and the Conscientious person has a clear understanding of what that means, from how to achieve the boss’s objectives, to how to fit every single dirty dish into the dishwasher.
  • Perfectionism. The Conscientious person likes all tasks and projects to be complete to the final detail, without even minor flaws.
  • Perseverance. They stick to their convictions and opinions. Opposition only strengthens their dogged determination.
  • Order and detail. Conscientious people like the appearance of orderliness and tidiness. They are good organizers, catalogers, and list makers. No detail is too small for Conscientious consideration.
  • Prudence. Careful, and cautious in all areas of their lives, such individuals do not give in to reckless abandon or wild excess.
  • Accumulation. This person saves and collects things, reluctant to discard anything that formerly had, or someday may have value for him.

Character Strengths

  • Industry, diligence.
  • Scrupulousness, conscientiousness, dutifulness, responsibility, idealism.
  • Deliberateness, rationality, logicalness, sensibility.
  • Having high standards; trying to be complete, perfect; radical, persistent, thorough.
  • Perseverance, tenacity, steadiness, firmness.
  • Orderliness, tidiness, cleanliness, meticulousness.
  • Prudence, self-control, self-restraint, cautiousness, discipline.
  • Frugality.

Erich Fromm: „Hoarding is associated with the cold form of withdrawing and with destructiveness, there is a clear connection with perfectionism as well. Freud would call it the anal retentive type. In its pure form, it means you are stubborn, stingy, and unimaginative. If you are a milder version of hoarding, you might be steadfast, economical, and practical.“

Excess of Conscientiuos type – obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

The Conscientious Personality Type in excess of its strengths, equals obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD):

too conscientious, too productive, too achieving, too controlling, too perfectionistic, too correct, too meticulous, too orderly, too persevering, too pragmatic, too prudent, too accumulative.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders describes disorder as a pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control, at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency.

  • is preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost;
  • shows perfectionism that interferes with task completion (e.g., is unable to complete a project because his own overly strict standards are not met);
  • is excessively devoted to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships;
  • is overconscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or values;
  • is unable to discard worn-out or worthless objects even when they have no sentimental value;
  • is reluctant to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit to exactly his way of doing things ;
  • adopts a miserly spending style toward both self and others; money is viewed as something to be hoarded for future catastrophes;
  • shows rigidity and stubbornness.

The Dimensional Perspective

High Neuroticism

Chronic negative affects, including anxiety, fearfulness, tension, irritability, anger, hopelessness, guilt, shame; difficulty inhibiting impulses: to eat, drink, or spend money; irrational beliefs: for example, unrealistic expectations, perfectionistic demands on self, pessimism; unfounded somatic concerns; helplessness and dependence on others for emotional support and decision making.

High Extraversion

Excessive talking, leading to inappropriate self-disclosure and social friction; inability to spend time alone; attention seeking and overly dramatic expression of emotions; reckless excitement seeking; inappropriate attempts to dominate and control others.

High Openness

Preoccupation with fantasy and daydreaming; lack of practicality; eccentric thinking (e.g., belief in ghosts, reincarnation, UFOs); diffuse identity and changing goals: for example, joining religious cult; susceptibility to nightmares and states of altered consciousness; social rebelliousness and nonconformity that can interfere with social or vocational advancement.

High Agreeableness

Gullibility: indiscriminate trust of others; excessive candour and generosity at the expense of self-interest; inability to stand up to others and fight back; easily taken advantage of.

High Conscientiousness

Overachievement: workaholic absorption in job or cause to the exclusion of family, social, and personal interests; compulsiveness, including excessive cleanliness, tidiness, and attention to detail; rigid self-discipline and an inability to set tasks aside and relax; lack of spontaneity; overscrupulousness in moral behaviour.

The Behavior Perspective

  • Preoccupation with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules.
  • Perfectionism that interferes with task completion.
  • Excessive devotion to work and productivity.
  • Overconscientiousness, scrupulosity, and inflexibility about matters of morality, ethics, or values.
  • Hoarding
  • Excessive interpersonal control.
  • Miserliness toward both self and others.
  • Rigidity and stubbornness.

Here are the typical beliefs for Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder:

  • I am fully responsible for myself and others.
  • I have to depend on myself to see that things get done.
  • Others tend to be too casual, irresponsible, self-indulgent, or incompetent.
  • It is important to do a perfect job.
  • I need order, systems, and rules in order to get the job done properly.
  • If I don’t have systems, everything will fall apart.
  • Any flaw or defect of performance may lead to a catastrophe.
  • I need to be in complete control of my emotions.
  • People should do things my way.
  • If I don’t perform at the highest level, I will fail.
  • Flaws, defects, or mistakes are intolerable.
  • Details are extremely important.
  • My way of doing things is generally the best way.

“Treatment for clients with Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) will have to address the issue of control. For significant change, these individuals must develop tolerance for:

  • their lack of control over people and situations;
  • the presence of chance, uncertainty, and impermanence in their lives.

YouTube: Pathological hoarding