PTypes Main Interests of the Character Styles Sensitive Style

Conscientious Character Style

The interests of the Conscientious Character Style include (Oldham, pg. 62):

  • having strong moral principles and being certain
  • not resting until the job is done and done right
  • being loyal to families, causes, and superiors
  • working hard to do well
  • achieving and accomplishing things
  • loving to work and be challenged

Main Interests of the Conscientious Character Style

  1. achieving things; being productive

  2. gaining respect and approval; doing the right thing

  3. doing things the right way; seeking to have things done correctly

  4. doing tasks completely and without errors

  5. having correct opinions and strong convictions; persevering

  6. maintaining order and organization

  7. saving money; being thrifty, careful, and cautious

  8. saving and collecting things; keeping things that have instrumental value.

Characteristic Traits and Behaviors

Dr. John M. Oldham has defined the Conscientious personality style. The following eight characteristic traits and behaviors are listed in his The New Personality Self-Portrait.

  1. Hard work. The Conscientious person is dedicated to work, works very hard, and is capable of intense, single-minded effort.

  2. The right thing. To be Conscientious is to be a person of conscience. 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.

  3. The right way. Everything must be done "right," and the Conscientious person has a clear understanding of what that means, from the correct way to balance the checkbook, to the best strategy to achieve the boss's objectives, to how to fit every single dirty dish into the dishwasher.

  4. Perfectionism. The Conscientious person likes all tasks and projects to be complete to the final detail, without even minor flaws.

  5. Perseverance. They stick to their convictions and opinions. Opposition only serves to strengthen their dogged determination.

  6. 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.

  7. Prudence. Thrifty, careful, and cautious in all areas of their lives, Conscientious individuals do not give in to reckless abandon or wild excess.

  8. Accumulation. A "pack rat," the Conscientious person saves and collects things, reluctant to discard anything that has, formerly had, or someday may have value for him or her.

John M. Oldham and Lois B. Morris (1995). The New Personality Self-Portrait: Why You Think, Work, Love and Act the Way You Do. New York: Bantam.


1. Conscientious: "Governed by or accomplished according to conscience; scrupulous" (AHD)

"Conscience: 1. The faculty of recognizing the distinction between right and wrong in regard to one's own conduct. 2. Conformity to one's own sense of right conduct" (AHD)

Synonyms: "scrupulous, honorable, honest, upright, just" (MW, 179)

"upright, honest, just, conscientious, scrupulous, honorable are comparable when they are applied to men or their acts and words and mean having or exhibiting a strict regard for what is morally right. Upright implies manifest rectitude and an uncompromising adherence to high moral principles ... Honest implies a recognition of and strict adherence to solid virtues (as truthfulness, candor, respect for others' possessions, sincerity, and fairness) ... It is more widely applicable than upright which often implies independence of spirit and self-mastery and which is therefore referable chiefly to thoughtful and highly disciplined men. Honest, on the other hand may be used in reference to the ignorant as well as the learned, and to the simple as well as the wise ... Just ... may stress conscious choice and regular practice of what is right or equitable ... Conscientious and scrupulous both imply an active moral sense which governs all one's actions. Conscientious stresses painstaking efforts to follow that guide at all costs, especially in one's observance of the moral law or in the performance of one's duty ... Scrupulous ... , on the other hand, implies either anxiety in obeying strictly the dictates of conscience or meticulous attention to the morality of the details of conduct as well as to the morality of one's ends ... Honorable ... implies the guidance of a high sense of honor or of a sense of what one should do in obedience not only to the dictates of conscience but to the demands made by social position or office, by the code of his profession, or by the esteem in which he is held ..." (849-50)

Analogous: "righteous, virtuous, ethical, moral, strict, rigid: particular, fastidious, finicky, nice: meticulous, punctilious, careful"

Antonyms: "unconscientious, unscrupulous"

Contrasted: "slack, lax, remiss, negligent, neglectful: careless, heedless, thoughtless" (179)

2. Conscientious: "Thorough and painstaking" (AHD)

Synonyms: "Careful, meticulous, scrupulous, punctilious, punctual"

"Careful, meticulous, scrupulous, [conscientious], punctilious, punctual are comparable in their basic sense of showing or revealing close attention to details or care in execution or performance. Careful implies great concern for the person or things in one's charge or for the way in which one's duties or tasks are performed. With regard to the former, the term implies solicitude or watchfulness ... and with regard to the latter, it usually implies painstaking efforts, thoroughness, cautiousness in avoiding errors, and a desire for perfection ... All of the other words mean exceedingly careful, but they vary in their implications of the motives which inspire such carefulness and, to a less extent, in regard to the objects of attention. Meticulous usually suggests timorousness lest one make the slightest error or fall short of a high standard; in addition, it implies extreme fussiness or fastidiousness in attention to details ... Scrupulous ... implies the promptings of conscience, not only of one's moral conscience but of one's sense of what is right and wrong (as in logic, or in aesthetics); it therefore also implies strict or painstaking adherence to what one knows to be true, correct, or exact ..." (MW, 126-27). "Conscientious and scrupulous agree in connoting a painstaking carefulness based on an ethical, logical, moral or other standard. [A conscientious researcher, through a highly developed regard for the truth, is careful to avoid error or omission; A scrupulous juror, out of a dedication to justice, is careful to weigh all the evidence and excludes all personal feelings.]" (H, 74). "Punctilious, on the other hand, implies knowledge of the fine points (as of law, etiquette, ceremony, or morality) and usually connotes excessive or obvious attention to the details or minutiae of these ... Punctual may occasionally come close to punctilious in its stress on attention to the fine points of a law or code, but in such use the term carries a much stronger implication than punctilious of emphasis on their observance and a weaker implication of concentration upon the minutiae ... More usually the term implies near perfection in one's adherence to appointed times for engagements or in following a schedule and then means punctiliously prompt ..."

Analogous: "cautious, circumspect, wary: provident, foresighted, prudent ... : accurate, precise, nice, exact ... : studied, deliberate"

Antonyms: "careless"

Contrasted: "heedless, thoughtless, inadvertent ... : neglectful, negligent, lax, slack, remiss" (MW, 127)

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (1981, c.1969). William Morris, Ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Hayakawa, S. I. (1987, c1968). Choose the Right Word: A Modern Guide to Synonyms. New York: Perennial Library.

Merriam-Webster (1984). Webster's New Dictionary of Synonyms: A Dictionary of Discriminated Synonyms with Antonyms and Analogous and Contrasted Words. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.

Noteworthy Examples of the Conscientious Character Style

Noteworthy examples of the Conscientious character Style are: Index of noteworthy examples

Karen Carpenter | Richard Carpenter | Bill Bradley | Jerry Brown | Anita Bryant | William F. Buckley Jr. | Brooke Burke | Noam Chomsky | Mario Cuomo | Geraldine Ferraro | Jane Fonda | Erich Fromm | Mohandas K. Gandhi | Al Gore | Charles Grodin | George Harrison | Hugh Hefner | Professor Henry Higgins | Adolf Hitler | Howard Hughes | Ignatius Loyola | Thomas Jefferson | John Paul II | Bobby Knight | C. S. Lewis | Martin Luther | Cotton Mather | John McLaughlin | Ralph Nader | Martha C. Nussbaum | Sandra Day O'Connor | Blackford Oakes | Michelle Obama | Yoko Ono | Ayn Rand | Hadley Richardson | Howard Roark | Carl Rogers | Carl Sagan | George Bernard Shaw | Upton Sinclair | Gloria Steinem | Martha Stewart | Jonathan Swift | Margaret Thatcher | George F. Will | Woodrow Wilson | Natalie Wood


The Conscientious Character Style is derrived from Obsessive-Compulsive Character Disorder.



Summary - Character Disorders
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