Passion & Performance at Work

Jo Burke, PCI ConsultingThis week we were delighted to welcome a number of HR, Leaders and Business Professionals to our first Breakfast Briefing focussing on Passion and Performance at Work. In this session, Jolanta Burke (Positive Psychologist and PhD Researcher TCD) introduced us to the latest research on the four dimensions of performance; harmonious passion, learned optimism, focussing on positive emotions and harnessing our character strengths.

If you wish to talk to us about our programmes and solutions including how to maximise performance in your workplace, please contact us and we will be delighted to visit or send you some important information.

In the meantime, we have included below a short summary of some of the research Jolanta presented during the briefing which clearly describes how these contribute to high performance.


  • Obsessive passion in entrepreneurs linked with lower business income (Ho & Pollack, 2014)
  • Harmonious passion in employees predicted higher performance mediated primarily by cognitive absorption (Ho, Wong & Lee, 2011)
  • Obsessive passion associated with workplace burnout and low life satisfaction (Birkeland & Buch, 2015)

Learned Optimism:

  • More likely to achieve a goal (Solberg et al., 2005)
  • More motivated (Carver et al., 1979)
  • Exert more effort, bounce back faster, tend not to give up, don’t use denial (Carver & Scheier, 2009)
  • Higher productivity (Seligman & Schulman, 1986)

Positive Emotions:

  • Leaders positive emotions predicted team’s higher performance (Santora & Esposito, 2011)
  • Team’s positive emotions (enthusiasm, optimism, satisfaction, comfort and relaxation) were associated with team’s higher performance (Meneghel, Salanova & Martinez, 2014)
  • Experiencing 5:1 ratio of positive to negative emotions predicted very high team performance (Losada & Heaphy, 2004)

Character Strengths:

  • Significantly improves likelihood of achieving a goal (Linley, Nielsen, Gillet, & Biswas-Diener, 2010)
  • Helps reach career goals (Littman-Ovadia, Lazar-Butbull, & Benjamin, 2013)
  • One strength all high performers have in common is perseverance (Peterson & Park, 2009; Park & Peterson, 2008; Lounsbury et al., 2009; Park & Peterson, 2009a; Weber & Ruch, 2012)


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