In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Passion

  • Introduction
  • Introductory Works
  • Passion Measurement
  • Antecedents to Passion
  • Passion and Personal Well-Being
  • Passion and Interpersonal Interactions
  • Passion and Performance
  • Maladaptive Passion Outcomes
  • Passion as Moderating Factor
  • Passion as Mediating Factor
  • Passion among Employees
  • Passion among Entrepreneurs
  • Passion in Teams

Management Passion
Sara Thorgren, Melissa S. Cardon, Charles Y. Murnieks
  • LAST REVIEWED: 22 September 2021
  • LAST MODIFIED: 22 September 2021
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0086


Passion has been discussed in the popular press as a valuable driver for commitment, performance, and well-being. Although academics in disciplines such as philosophy, literature, and religious studies have touched on the concept historically, only in the early 21st century have comprehensive efforts in psychology become focused on developing nonromantic passion theory conceptually and studying it empirically. At about the same time, organizational scholars started to acknowledge the role of passion in work. Passion research in both psychology and organizational science has advanced our understanding of what passion is and how it plays a role in both work and leisure activities. As a result of these advancements, most of today’s nonromantic passion research defines passion as “a strong inclination toward an activity that people like, that they find important, and in which they invest time and energy” (see Vallerand, et al. 2003, cited under Introductory Works, p. 757). When targeted toward a specific activity, passion is neither a personality trait nor an inclination generalized to all kinds of activities. In other words, the activity in question and how the individual identifies with that activity is of central importance for understanding both its antecedents and its outcomes. A person can thus be highly passionate about a certain activity such as accounting, but at the same time have no passion for another activity, such as playing tennis. While this sounds like common sense, it contrasts significantly with the popular notion of “passionate people,” who have been viewed generally as passionate rather than being passionate for a specific activity. Conceptualizing passion as relating to a certain activity rather than considering it as a stable trait has opened avenues to examine questions such as what fosters passion, how passion may vary over time, and how passion for an activity may interfere with life’s other activities. To reflect advancements in the psychology literature and compare those to nascent passion research in the organizational literature, the readings in this article emphasize works in psychology that are relevant for organizations and management.

Introductory Works

No single work gives a comprehensive review of passion research. The topic is quite new, and yet already two main groups of passion researchers have emerged: those publishing in psychology and those publishing in business and management. For an overview of research on the dualistic model of passion—the main framework in psychology research as introduced in Vallerand, et al. 2003—the review in Vallerand 2010 and the book The Psychology of Passion (Vallerand 2015) are a perfect start. To begin to understand passion in the organizational context, Ho, et al. 2011 provides an excellent conceptualization of passion in the work context and Vallerand, et al. 2014 reviews research on passion in the workplace. Cardon, et al. 2009 and Cardon and Murnieks 2020 provide even further detail by conceptualizing the nature of entrepreneurial passion

  • Cardon, Melissa S., and Charles Y. Murnieks. The Profits and Perils of Passion in Entrepreneurship: Stoking the Fires and Banking the Coals. Northampton, UK: Edward Elgar, 2020.

    This book provides a comprehensive analysis of the research surrounding entrepreneurial passion. It reviews key theories underlying the passion construct and discusses prominent findings surrounding both the antecedents and the outcomes linked to entrepreneurial passion, as well as promising future research directions.

  • Cardon, Melissa S., Joakim Wincent, Jagdip Singh, and Mateja Drnovšek. “The Nature and Experience of Entrepreneurial Passion.” Academy of Management Review 34.3 (2009): 511–532.

    DOI: 10.5465/AMR.2009.40633190

    Authors are forerunners in conceptualizing entrepreneurial passion. The authors present a theoretical model illustrating the effects of entrepreneurial passion on goal-related cognitions, entrepreneurial behaviors, and entrepreneurial effectiveness.

  • Ho, Violet T., Sze-Sze Wong, and Chay Hoon Lee. “A Tale of Passion: Linking Job Passion and Cognitive Engagement to Employee Work Performance.” Journal of Management Studies 48.1 (2011): 26–47.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.2009.00878.x

    Pioneers in introducing the Vallerand, et al. 2003 dualistic model of passion in the organizational literature. In doing so, these authors were the first to provide a rigorous conceptualization of job passion and to examine its effect on work performance.

  • Newman, Alexander, Martin Obschonka, Julia Moeller, and Gemma Garima Chandan. “Entrepreneurial Passion: A Review, Synthesis, and Agenda for Future Research.” Applied Psychology: An International Review 70.2 (2021): 816–820.

    DOI: 10.1111/apps.12236

    In offering a systematic review of entrepreneurial passion, these authors present a nomological network of antecedents and outcomes. They discuss the definition, measurement, and nomological network related to entrepreneurial passion as well as outline an agenda for future research.

  • Pollack, Jeffrey M., Violet T. Ho, Ernest H. O’Boyle, and Bradley L. Kirkman. “Passion at Work: A Meta-analysis of Individual Work Outcomes.” Journal of Organizational Behavior 41.4 (2020): 311–331.

    Authors conduct a meta-analysis of work outcomes by drawing upon 106 different samples across eighty-seven manuscripts. Examined work outcomes are affect (positive/negative), psychological states and attitudes (e.g., self-efficacy, job satisfaction), and work-specific outcomes (e.g., creativity).

  • Vallerand, Robert J. “On Passion for Life Activities: The Dualistic Model of Passion.” Advances in Experimental Social Psychology 42 (2010): 97–193.

    DOI: 10.1016/S0065-2601(10)42003-1

    Reviews research building on the dualistic model of passion, which was introduced in Vallerand, et al. 2003. Presents how passion is distinct from other similar constructs and describes the intrapersonal and interpersonal outcomes of passion.

  • Vallerand, Robert J. The Psychology of Passion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

    This book outlines the dualistic model of passion in detail and summarizes the majority of the research conducted (through its publication) on harmonious and obsessive passion, their antecedents, and their effects.

  • Vallerand, Robert J., Céline Blanchard, Geneviève A. Mageau, et al. “Les Passions de l’Âme: On Obsessive and Harmonious Passion.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 85.4 (2003): 756–767.

    DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.85.4.756

    The seminal reference to the dualistic model of passion, this work defines passion and what distinguishes harmonious passion from obsessive passion. This is the starting point for the stream of research on harmonious and obsessive passion.

  • Vallerand, Robert J., Nathalie Houlfort, and Jacques Forest. “Passion for Work: Determinants and Outcomes.” In The Oxford Handbook of Work Engagement, Motivation, and Self-Determination Theory. Edited by Marylène Gagné, 85–107. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

    Drawing upon the dualistic model of passion, this chapter reviews ten years of research on passion in the workplace. The discussion centers on passion determinants (e.g., personal and social factors) and outcomes (e.g., well-being, interpersonal relationships, and performance). Available by subscription.

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