“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.”
“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.”
We recently conducted one of the largest-ever studies on perfectionism. We learned that perfectionism has increased substantially over the past 25 years and that it affects men and women equally.
We also learned that perfectionists become more neurotic and less conscientious as time passes.
Perfectionism involves striving for flawlessness and requiring perfection of oneself and others. Extremely negative reactions to mistakes, harsh self-criticism, nagging doubt about performance abilities and a strong sense that others are critical and demanding also define the trait.
As a clinical psychologist in the department of psychology and neuroscience at Dalhousie University and a lecturer in research methods at York St John University, together we have extensive experience in understanding, assessing, treating and studying perfectionism.
We are greatly troubled by what we see.
We believe there is an urgent need for prevention efforts — to reduce the harsh and controlling parenting practices and socio-cultural influences, such as unrealistic media images, that contribute to perfectionism. Interventions for distressed perfectionists are also clearly needed.
To gain a more complete understanding of perfectionism, we conducted a large-scale meta-analysis involving 77 studies and nearly 25,000 participants. Around two thirds of these participants were female and many were Caucasian university students from western nations (such as Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom). Our participants ranged in age from 15 to 49.
We found today’s young people are more perfectionist than ever before. In fact, we found perfectionism has increased substantially since 1990. This means millennials struggle with perfectionism more than previous generations — a finding that mirrors past research.
The causes of perfectionism are complex. Increases in perfectionism come, at least in part, from today’s dog-eat-dog world, where rank and performance count excessively and winning and self-interest are emphasized.
Controlling and critical parents also hover too close in raising their children, which fosters perfectionism’s development. With social media posts showcasing unrealistically “perfect” lives and glossy advertisements depicting unobtainable standards of perfection, millennials are surrounded by too many yardsticks upon which to measure their success and failure. Keeping up with the Joneses has never been harder.
This epidemic of perfectionism in modern western societies is a serious, even deadly, problem. Perfectionism is robustly linked in the research to anxiety, stress, depression, eating disorders and suicide.
We also found that, as perfectionists grow older, they appear to unravel. Their personalities become more neurotic (more prone to negative emotions like guilt, envy and anxiety) and less conscientious (less organized, efficient, reliable and disciplined).
Pursuing perfection — a goal that is intangible, fleeting and rare — may result in a higher rate of failures and a lower rate of successes that leaves perfectionists more likely to neurotically stew about their imperfections and less likely to conscientiously pursue their goals.
Overall, then, our results suggest life does not get easier for perfectionists. In a challenging, messy and imperfect world, perfectionists may burn out as they age, leaving them more unstable and less diligent.
Our findings also revealed men and women report similar levels of perfectionism.
This suggests modern western societies do not involve gender-specific pressure to be perfect. Gender roles appear to allow (or to encourage) both men and women to strive for perfection.
Future research should test if men strive for perfection based more on achievement motives (such as competing for resources) and women strive for perfection based more on relationship motives (such as pleasing other people).
Perfectionism is a major, deadly epidemic in modern western societies that is seriously under-recognized, with many distressed perfectionists concealing their imperfections from those who might be able to help (such as psychologists, teachers or family doctors).
We need to respond to the perfectionism epidemic at the parental and the cultural level.
Parents need to be less controlling, critical and overprotective of their children — teaching their children to tolerate and to learn from their mistakes while emphasizing hard work and discipline over the unrealistic pursuit of perfection.
Unconditional love — where parents value children for more than their performance, rank or appearance — seems as good an antidote to perfectionism as any.
Perfectionism is a myth and social media is its storyteller. We need to teach a healthy skepticism toward the suspiciously “perfect” lives promoted through social media posts and mainstream media advertisements. Unrealistic images achieved through photo-shopping, airbrushing and filters are less compelling once you learn the game is rigged.
Simon Sherry, Professor, Clinical Psychologist, and Director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Dalhousie University and Martin M. Smith, Lecturer in Research Methods, York St John University
Dr. Meinhard Doelle, Professor of Law, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, has graciously agreed to join the CEGE Connection conversation and share his insights on climate change and environment law. We highly recommend a visit to Professor Doelle’s Blog: Environment Law News, which provides vital information that speaks to the complexities of environmental and energy law, climate change, GHG emissions, and the role of human rights in these areas of enquiry.
“Saskatchewan Case on Federal Jurisdiction over Climate Change Going to Court” has been republished from Professor Doelle’s blog, Environment Law News.
In Saskatchewan this week, the first of two reference cases to challenge federal jurisdiction over climate change is going to court. The two cases, brought by the governments of Saskatchewan and Ontario respectively, both involve the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act. The key aim of the Act is to impose a federal carbon price for provinces that either do not have one at all, or who have developed a carbon price that does not meet the minimum federal requirements. The federal pricing mechanism distinguishes between large industrial emitters and emissions that result from the use of gasoline, heating oil and similar uses at the individual level. The price imposed on individuals starts at $10 per ton and goes up to $50 by 2022. Notably, most of the revenues generated will be returned to citizens on the basis that the price will encourage individuals to reduce emissions where they can, and the rebate will compensate them for the additional cost, while still creating an incentive to reduce emissions where possible.
The province of Saskatchewan is going to court to argue that the federal carbon pricing backstop is an invasion of provincial jurisdiction. The case has attracted an unprecedented number of intervenors, with almost 20 in support of the federal position and 6 in support of Saskatchewan’s position. The immense interest in this case is not surprising. Constitutional arguments have been at the center of efforts to undermine strong environmental laws in Canada for a long time. Some have been resolved through court cases, cases which the federal government has mostly won. Others, such as the jurisdiction of the federal government to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, have lingered in the background of efforts at federal-provincial cooperation on this issue for the last two decades. As I have explored in previous posts, we have gone through cycles of federal leadership with provincial resistance, followed by federal apathy with some provinces leading the way. Questions over the limits of federal jurisdiction to deal with climate change have brewed below the surface every time the federal government has sought to lead on this issue. This, however, is the first time the legal issue is going to court.
There is such broad interest in this case, because the stakes are high. In the past two decades of lack of effective cooperation and action on climate change, we have lost valuable time in ensuring a smooth and just transition to a carbon free world. The longer these battles continue, the less we will be able to take advantage of the economic opportunities associated with the transition, the more our economy will suffer from the unplanned and abrupt loss of the jobs of the past, and the harder the transition will be for the workforce that currently relies on jobs in sectors in need of transition.
There are different ways the court can resolve the case. It may just decide narrowly whether the federal government has jurisdiction to implement the specific carbon pricing backstop it has introduced through the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act. It could, however, also answer more general questions about federal jurisdiction over climate change. This is in part because the federal government has a number of arguments it can make. They include the federal government’s power over taxation, the federal criminal law power, and the power of the federal government to legislate in case of matters of national concern and emergencies. Some of these federal powers offer opportunities to clarify that the federal government has broad powers to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Declaring climate change to be a matter of national concern or an emergency would be a way for the court to grant broad powers to the federal government. Federal powers to regulate greenhouse gas emissions would be more narrow if the court decided to grant federal jurisdiction using the federal taxation power or the criminal law power.
What is least likely is that the courts will depart from the well-established principle of cooperative federalism in dealing with this case by holding the federal government has no power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The court will be looking for ways to ensure the federal government has the legislative power to deal with climate change, while not excluding provinces from sharing this responsibility. One way to do that would be for the court to limit the federal power to a specific tool, such as the taxation power or the criminal law power. Another option for the court would be to grant broad federal jurisdiction based on federal national concern or emergency powers, but to clarify that those powers do not take away from the ability of provinces to also regulate the same activities.
A final option would be for the courts to reverse old case law in Canada and decide that the federal government has the power to implement international treaties, such as the Paris Climate Agreement. This would bring Canada in line with countries with similar constitutions, such as Australia, and avoid jurisdictional squabbles over the implementation of Canada’s international commitments and obligations.
Ultimately, whatever the specifics of the outcome, there is every reason to expect that the guiding principle for the courts will be cooperative federalism. This was emphasized most recently in the Orphan Wells decision of the SCC on the relationship between federal bankruptcy law and provincial environmental regulation, and it is a point the SCC has made again and again on environmental cases over the past few decades. The courts will be looking for ways to ensure both levels of government have the ability to address climate change, the greatest environmental emergency of our time. It is hard to see how a court will find that the federal government, after 20 years of efforts at a common approach, was unreasonable in imposing a carbon price on provinces unwilling to set their own.
The stakes are high, but the court, with the active involvement of well over 20 intervenors from all segments of Canadian society, has the opportunity in this case to remove a long-standing barrier to the effective regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, and thereby ending a two decade long stalemate on one of the most critical issues facing Canada and the world.
Professor Doelle’s teaching within the law school has involved courses in environmental law, energy law, climate change and contract law. He has also been involved in interdisciplinary teaching outside the law school, most notably at the College of Sustainability, where he co-taught a course on Humanity in the Natural World from 2009 to 2012
“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”
Vincent Van Gogh
Conor Falvey is a Dalhousie Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) student at Dalhousie University. She aspires to be an information professional with a passion for digital health, health librarianship, information policy, and research data management. Over 10 years of working in diverse fields, she cultivated a passion for solving information-related problems, especially the challenge of communicating about complex topics like healthcare in more accessible ways.
Community service is paramount in her work, research, and personal life. Her current focus is on ways to improve public health, optimize the health care system, and prepare health professionals for the digital future.
CEGE Connection reached out to Conor Falvey to discuss her recent involvement in the Public Service Commission’s leadership development program
As governments in Canada join the movement towards remote work, the next generation of public service leaders will need effective training to face the unique challenges of virtual teams.
On March 4-5, 2019, I had the opportunity to join Faculty of Management professors Dr. Martine Durier-Copp and Dr. Joyline Makani, in delivering an intensive workshop for students in the Public Service Commission’s leadership development program. Over two snowy days, students received an evidence-based introduction to virtual teamwork and e-leadership. Lessons were drawn from the ConnecT Framework, a tool developed by Dr. Durier-Copp and Dr. Binod Sundararajan based on cutting-edge research on virtual teams. The framework is currently the subject of a SSHRC-funded research project to test its effectiveness for the federal public service.
For many participants, the use of training simulations was a particular highlight of the workshop. Students were challenged to work together to reach the summit of Mount Everest – virtually, that is. Completing the Harvard Business School’s renowned Everest teamwork simulation underlined the importance of trust and communication in virtual teams (not to mention the perils of high-altitude climbing!).
Another round of ConnecT Framework training will take place at the Public Service Commission’s Learning Centre on May 29-30.
Dr. Moataz Soliman is an Assistant Professor in the Rowe School of Business, with interests in the individual acceptance and adoption of information technology and in the impact of the use of these technologies on job performance. His current research focuses on user motivations, and on perceptions of fit between user needs and system functions. His research topics include IT adoption, IT user behaviour, social media and augmented reality.
CEGE Connection reached out to Dr. Moataz to discuss his research and his experience as a Dalhousie professor with the CEGE Connection community.
Dr. Moataz Soliman:
I am pleased to share my thoughts on CEGE Connection. I am a limited time appointee (LTA) assistant professor and my main mandate is teaching. Over the past year, I have had the privilege of teaching six courses and working with enthusiastic and dedicated students. Academic journeys are life- long. They continually challenge us to realize our full potential. There is always a delicate balance between creating a positive teaching experience for students and ensuring that my research is ever fresh and continues at an accelerated pace.
This past year offered wonderful opportunities for exploration. I have had success in grant applications, published conference papers and had journal papers under review. I have also been an external examiner for a PhD student dissertation defense at McGill University. In addition to all this, there was a dream SSHRC IDG grant proposal that I was leading with a team of able researchers from Rowe, the Faculty of Computer Science, and the Faculty of Science.
Armed with six HoloLens devices (an advanced augmented reality tool), our goal was to develop apps that could enhance a student’s learning experience, and then conduct experiments to test the effectiveness of those apps, along with the HoloLens, in improving learning. For example, rather than viewing a static diagram, a student can visualize and interact with a 3D holographic model showing the effect of climate warming on the increased melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet and the resulting increase in the freshwater inflow to the North Atlantic and the subsequent reduction in its salinity.
With opportunities come time constraints, deadlines and demanding schedules. I was focused on teaching and committed to the SSHRC IDG grant proposal. My wife and daughters were amazing during this turbulent time. They were proud of my work and encouraged me to persevere, recognizing that this was important research. On February 4, 2019, our team submitted a good, complete and coherent application. The results are only due in June, but to all of us we have already succeeded!
I have enjoyed and value my time at Dalhousie and the Rowe School of Business. In July, I will be exploring new adventures and possibilities. As I look back over my busy three years at Dalhousie, I am grateful for the opportunity to teach, to work with like-minded academics and pursue meaningful research. Most of all, I am thankful for my family’s trust in me. It has been good years.
“We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat. They do not exist.”
Queen Victoria (24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901)
“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live.”
Hans Christian Andersen, The Fairy Tale of My Life: An Autobiography
This article by Laurel Sampson, was republished from our sister blog INFORM
Please join the School of Information Management (SIM) in congratulating Dr. Louise Spiteri on her promotion to Full Professor. The rank of Full Professor is awarded to faculty members who have demonstrated a high level of effectiveness in teaching and who have gained wide recognition as a contributor to their discipline or profession.
Throughout her time with SIM, Dr. Spiteri has demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and service. Dr. Spiteri has consistently received high SRI scores, as well as extensive praise and recognition from students for the quality of her teaching, her strong organization, preparation, and planning, and her ability to engage and excite students.
Dr. Spiteri is known for her comprehensive and relevant feedback to students, as well as her responsiveness. Her assignments provide a mix of theoretical and practical elements, and students comment on the utility of her courses in the workplace, and throughout their careers. Dr. Spiteri’s research involving knowledge organization, social tagging, and linked data has expanded with the changes in the field and has helped shape scholarship within the discipline. Most recently Dr. Spiteri has co-edited and contributed to two books that have moved forward the research agenda in her field.
Dr. Spiteri has been a generous and active contributor to SIM, and the Faculty of Management, including her time as Director of SIM. Dr. Spiteri has also had a significant impact in key information associations, in particular, the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE), where she has had numerous roles included President. ALISE recognized Dr. Spiteri’s contributions, awarding her a Service Award.
Dr. James Barker was a recipient the 2018 Dalhousie Faculty of Management Teaching Excellence Award, which celebrates teachers who, per the award’s guidelines, “display the qualities of superior teaching, excellent understanding of the subject area and interest in the needs of the students.”
Just recently, Dr. Barker was presented with the A. Gordon Archibald Teaching Excellence Award for the 2018 – 2019 academic year. The Archibald Award celebrates the art of teaching, of embracing a deep and profound commitment to knowledge, exploration, research and excellence. In his congratulatory announcement, Dr. Benoit Aubert, Director of the Rowe School of Business, Dalhousie University, stated that the A. Gordon Archibald Award committee was especially impressed by Dr. Barker’s variety of approaches, strategies, and the diversity of knowledge sources used to create an exceptional learning experience for Dalhousie students.
CEGE Connection reached out to Dr. Barker for his thoughts on receiving these two teaching awards.
Dr. James Barker:
First off, I am deeply honoured to have received both awards, The Management Teaching Excellent Award and the A. Gordon Archibald Teaching Excellence Award from the Rowe School of Business. To receive the recognition of both peers and students is truly gratifying and a profound validation of my philosophy of teaching.
Whenever you put together a package to be reviewed for one of these awards, you are asked for your philosophy of teaching. My philosophy is to be the teacher my students need me to be, right now. While this may appear to be quite simple, it is a difficult proposition to implement. My philosophy challenges me to keep moving forward and continually incorporate newness and adaptability into my classes. So, to be the teacher my students need me to be, right now requires me to work, not just in the present moment, but also to think about where, in the future, my students need to go and what they need to do.
At Dalhousie, I have the privilege of teaching four different types of students: our undergraduate Bachelor of Commerce students; our Corporate Residency MBA students, the direct entry from a Bachelor program into the MBA program; our traditional MBA students, those who have been in management for several years; and our Executive Education students.
A key way that I can be relevant to these students is to adapt to what those students need across a timeline. Each program requires that I work within different time horizon. For example, I work with a five-year timeline for the undergraduate Bachelor of Commerce students. My goal is to offer knowledge and training that can be useful to them for the next five years, as well as position them to pursue advanced studies, in the future, such as an MBA. The five-year timeline works well for them. And again, I base this on feedback from students. There is a lot of calibration that goes into this ongoing dialogue.
The Corporate Residency students – those direct entry students – require a longer timeline because they will attain their MBA, but will not have a depth of experience. My goal is to offer appropriate experience opportunities and the training to position them to take the greatest advantage of this experience. For these students, I work on a five to seven-year time horizon.
The traditional MBA students, those who have substantial management experience, are generally preparing themselves for more senior management roles. They require positioning and leveraging skills required for them to thrive within a more complex work environment. I work with a two-year time horizon because these students will move into senior positions that will mandate their continual change and adaptation.
The Executive Education students – their time horizon is the next business day. They need something with immediacy, something that I can give them that they can take and put to work the next time they go to work, whether that be the next business day or the same evening after class.
Consequently, to be the teacher my students need me to be, right now, I must, not only adapt to those needs of where the students are right now, but where they are going out into the future. My mission is to position students for the future so they can leverage and apply the knowledge that they need to succeed within an evolving work environment.
I started out by saying that my philosophy is challenging for me because it calls for me to adapt, both in the present moment, which we all do as teachers, but also to adapt to what those students need in longer term. As I prepare for classes and gather materials and examples, I am cognizant of the two timeframes. It is imperative that I stay current, both knowledge-wise and technology-wise. To be the teacher my students need me to be, pushes me to keep myself on top of where the pedagogy is for the areas in which I teach. Most importantly, I must be fully committed to practice what I teach in my classes.
A focus point for my leadership and management programs, an element that I build my classes around is to encourage my students to be the leader that their organizations need them to be, right now. Be the leader that your organization needs you to be, in this present moment. It is a different way to think about leadership or management than how we are usually taught to think. When you focus on the organization, on the collectivity, you change dramatically the tactics, the strategies and various elements that you use in leadership and management.
Now, I wish that I had coined the term, be the leader that your organization needs you to be. That came from a mentor of mine, Jim Parco, who introduced me to complexity thinking. I think that Jim would be quite honoured to see what I have done with his idea.
These two awards are very important to me. I appreciate the honour for they are a validation of my philosophy of teaching, of being the teacher that my students need me to be. When I embody my philosophy, I will be a better teacher. And if I am a better teacher, then my students will do better in those time horizons for which I prepare them. That is what teaching is all about.
Students that graduate from the Dalhousie Rowe School of Business will take their place on the world’s stage and make a difference at the appropriate time. That is what my colleagues and I, as teachers, are all trying to do. Preparing our students for the work they will undertake in the years ahead – that is our motivation and focus.