Training perfectionists in efficient decision-making: Exploring the use of reduced-processing strategies

Rebecca Liu (Speaker), Morrison, B. (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation › Oral presentation


Understanding how to minimise their perfectionistic behaviours is critical to improving perfectionists’ psychological well-being and effectiveness at work. Perfectionists often give equal consideration to all features during analysis, which can lead to slow and poor decision-making. Previous research has shown that limiting information processed to the most critical features resulted in improvements to decision accuracy. Aim: The present study examined whether perfectionists could be trained in the use of reduced-processing strategies to reduce their checking and maximising tendencies, improve their accuracy and reduce the time needed in making their decisions. Design: Participants were assigned to one of three training conditions (control, elimination by aspects, or satisficing) during which they completed four decisions scenarios in a firefighting task. Performance variables (i.e., decision accuracy, task latency, number of unique features accessed, and number of feature recursions) on a firefighting and a crime scene investigation task were measured both at pre-training (baseline) and at post-training. Method: Sixty participants (17 males; 43 females) were recruited via advertisement from the student population at the Australian College of Applied Psychology and from the general public. Participants completed eight decision scenarios in which they had to acquire information on three possible options and decide on the most appropriate one. Regression analyses were performed to determine if training in reduced-processing strategies predicted changes in performance variables and if the higher-order dimensions of perfectionism (i.e., perfectionistic strivings and perfectionistic concerns) accounted for differences in change scores over and beyond training. Results: Results showed that contrary to expectations, participants who trained in reduced-processing strategies, compared to the control group, did not significantly improve task performance except for a greater reduction in the number of unique features accessed. However, perfectionism did significantly explain variability in change scores but to different extents depending on task context. Conclusion: The present study elucidates the factors that may influence the successful introduction and adoption of reduced-processing or other training strategies. Applied to the workplace, managers should not only guide perfectionists to focus on the more critical pieces of information but clarify and help perfectionists to understand why such information is deemed more critical.
Held atAPS 13th Industrial and Organisational Psychology Conference
Event typeConference
LocationAdelaide, Australia, South Australia