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Losing the benefits of work passion? The implications of low ego-resilience for passionate workers

Wayne Hochwarter (Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)
Samantha L. Jordan (Department of Management, University of North Texas System, Denton, Texas, USA)
Ashlee Fontes-Comber (Department of Sports Administration, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)
D.C. De La Haye (Department of Management, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)
Abdul Karim Khan (United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates)
Mayowa Babalola (Department of Management and Leadership, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia)
Jennifer Franczak (Department of Organization Theory and Management, Pepperdine University, Malibu, California, USA)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 13 September 2022

Issue publication date: 15 September 2022




This research assessed the interactive effects of employee passion and ego-resilience (ER) on relevant work outcomes, including job satisfaction, citizenship behavior, job tension, and emotional exhaustion. The authors hypothesize that higher work passion is associated with less positive work outcomes when employees are low in ER.


The authors collected data from three unique samples (N's = 175, 141, 164) to evaluate the moderating effect across outcomes. The authors conducted analyses with and without demographic controls and affectivity (e.g. negative and positive). The authors used a time-separated data collection approach in Sample 3. The authors also empirically assess the potential for non-linear passion and ER main effect relationships to emerge.


Findings across samples confirm that high passion employees with elevated levels of ER report positive attitudinal, behavioral, and well-being outcomes. Conversely, high passion employees do not experience comparable effects when reporting low levels of ER. Results were broadly consistent when considering demographics and affectivity.

Research limitations/implications

Despite the single-source nature of the three data collections, The authors took steps to minimize common method bias concerns (e.g. time separation and including affectivity). Future research will benefit from multiple data sources collected longitudinally and examining a more comprehensive range of occupational contexts.

Practical implications

Passion is something that organizations want in all employees. However, the authors' results show that passion may not be enough to lead to favorable outcomes without considering factors that support its efficacy. Also, results show that moderate levels of passion may offer little benefit compared to low levels and may be detrimental.


As a focal research topic, work passion research is still in early development. Studies exploring factors that support or derail expected favorable effects of work passion are needed to establish a foundation for subsequent analyses. Moreover, the authors comment on the assumed “more is better” phenomenon. The authors argue for reconsidering the linear approach to predicting behavior in science and practice.



Hochwarter, W., Jordan, S.L., Fontes-Comber, A., De La Haye, D.C., Khan, A.K., Babalola, M. and Franczak, J. (2022), "Losing the benefits of work passion? The implications of low ego-resilience for passionate workers", Career Development International, Vol. 27 No. 5, pp. 526-546.



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