The Firm’s Role in Creating Work Passion
Work passion has received increasing attention from scholars and practitioners who recognise its benefits for both individuals and organisations. Research has defined the concept of work passion and demonstrated its positive outcomes, but its antecedents are significantly understudied. The work environment has been suggested as a major antecedent to the work passion creation process; however, its role in the creation process represents a large research gap. This study focused on the firm’s perspective by investigating the role of leaders and human resource management (HRM) representatives as the main organisational actors responsible for shaping the work environment. A qualitative design allowed leaders and HRM representatives to report their understanding of work passion, their role in creating and maintaining passion, and their perception of its possible negative effects on employees. These aspects were addressed using 26 semi-structured interviews with participants from various industries, including IT, technology, education, consumer goods, financial services and consulting. Analysis revealed three key findings that represent a significant contribution to the work passion literature and have important implications for organisational practice. First, leaders and HRM representatives demonstrated low awareness of the work passion concept. Therefore, the organisation may be missing out on opportunities to improve individual and organisational outcomes that could be achieved through recognition of passion’s unique characteristics. Second, the role of leadership in work passion was considered significant, while the relationship between HRM and work passion was perceived as distant and indirect. Third, having passion for a specific task or aspect of the job was seen to potentially cause an adverse effect on employee performance and well-being. These findings expand knowledge about work passion by providing the organisational perspective on passion creation and maintenance. This study also revealed a new direction for research regarding the specific outcomes of having passion only towards a task or aspect of the job as opposed to having passion for the job overall.