Disentangling the Overlap Between Employee Engagement and Passion


  • Gaja Zager Kocjan University of Ljubljana


engagement, passion, motivation, overlap, employees


With the emergence of positive psychology and the subsequent positive organizational behavior movement, focusing on the employee experience and factors of positive psychological states in employees has come to the forefront. In recent years, several studies have emphasized the practical value of employee engagement and passion (the dualistic model of passion; Vallerand et al., 2003) in predicting various positive individual and organizational outcomes (e.g., performance, well-being). Although engagement and passion seem relatively easy to spot at first glance, they are rather difficult to define and distinguish one from another. Therefore, the aim of the present article is to provide a comprehensive discussion on the shared aspects and conceptual differences between these two constructs within the work environment. The most noticeable overlap is proposed to exist between engagement and harmonious passion. It concerns the common underlying development mechanism, a very strong motivational force to engage in one's work, strong identification with work, and similar relationships with various antecedents and consequences. It is suggested that broader scope theories (such as the self-determination theory) should be taken into consideration in order to unify common findings from both theoretical backgrounds and overcome redundancy and the risk of multiplication of concepts in positive psychology.