On Passion & Sustainable Leadership: Personal & Organizational Outcomes in India.

AuthorGaan, Niharika


Today's business leaders must know to navigate the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity in a sustainable manner. Moreover with changing environment sustainability has been gaining ground and prominence generating intense emotions (Huy, 2002; Kiefer, 2004) which again require more sustained management practices like corporate social responsibility. This is in conformity with the practice of Indian Government that imposes statutory enforcement on all companies to spend two percent of their average net profit on social responsibilities. Lack of sustainability practices along with poor leadership may even create the cynicism in the environment (Andersson, 1996; Benn et al., 2014). Additionally, it may influence disenchantment within employees leading to increase in intention to quit (Cropanzano et al., 2003). To mitigate such negative outcomes initiative has to be accentuated by right set of leadership approach. The change coincides with vivified passions (Shrivastava et al., 2012) which are reflected in the form of intense emotions. In this pretext passion seems to be more relevant which directly pertains to the understanding of human sustainability that is thriving at work (Spreitzer et al., 2012). However, association between passion and leadership that is manifested in Sustainable Leadership (SL) form is empirically missing from the extant literature although traces show the manner in which passion can turn the brief into reality indicating the role of sustainability leadership in accentuating the relationship between the passion and cynicism (Davies, 2008). In this paper, we start looking into this apparent gap and develop a process model showing relationship between work passion and the ensued consequence like intention to quit which is further mediated through perceived SL and organizational cynicism.

Passion & Turnover Intention

The dualistic model of passion (DMP) as proposed by Vallerand and his colleague (2003; 2006; 2007; 2008) have defined passion in line with Self-determination Theory (SDT) which says that people may invest considerably in an activity not only to various degrees--a quantifiable aspect--but also in one of two ways--a qualitative aspect in which passion may be either harmonious or obsessive (Deci & Ryan, 1985; 2000). Harmonious Passion (HP) is characterized by intense psychological investment in a passionate activity which autonomously gets internalized, thereby establishing harmony with environment. Contrastingly, obsessive passion (OP) in turn involves a person in an intense activity wherein he is compelled to do so owing to internal and external pressures. This yields overbearing to be taken on individual's performing the activity, thereby losing balance with the peripheral activities surrounding life (Deci & Ryan, 2000; Vallerand et al., 2003).

Earlier findings indicate that employees who are experiencing psychological distress consider quitting one's job as a way of coping (Bellivia & Frone, 2005). Thus, workers who frequently experience depressive symptoms should experience higher levels of turnover intentions (TI). As posited, previous findings suggest that OP is related to high psychological distress (Vallerand, 2010), OP should be positively related to TI whereas HP is likely to show negative relation with the latter (Cropanzano et al., 2003). Thus, we arrive at the following hypotheses:

[H.sub.1a]: HP will be negatively related to TI.

[H.sub.1b]: OP will be positively related to TI.

Present Research

The purpose of the present research is to propose and test a model empirically on the role of work passion towards TI with mediating psychological variables like SL and organizational cynicism (OC).

Perceived interpersonal relationship with managers has potential ramifications on affective inferences (Zigarmi & Roberts, 2012). Further, the past research also noted that HP shares a weak relationship with one of the environmental factors i.e. work conflict (Vallerand et al., 2010) which may influence psychological well-being leading to negative affective outcomes. In such pretexts, the role of sustainable leader becomes very essential whose first principle advocates leadership for learning and leadership for caring for and among others (Hargreaves, 2007). Such approach of sustainable leader can intensify their excitement for learning new things solely on the basis of their merit and eventually leading to positive and sustainable psychological wellbeing and mitigating the effect of mediating variables like role conflict. Conversely, if employees have energy at work but lack opportunities to learn and grow, they are likely to feel stagnated and depleted (Spreitzer et al., 2012) and may experience OP. In such a situation, SL can facilitate by renewing people's energy through growth and development strategy and other enablers too to prevent the occurrence of ill-being as a result of display of OP. Concurrently, psychological devastation can be a probable outcome if the employee's careers live unsustainably through addictive work styles and a failure to find adequate nourishment as far as growth and developments are concerned. This kind of ensued growth and development can be safeguarded by SL without resulting into depletion of energy (Davies, 2007). Further web of relationship i.e. relationship of an individual with superiors, subordinates, co-workers, vendors and society is driven by nature of leadership (Wheatley, 2001). The sustainability in such a web of relationship will ensure sustainability in trust, harmony and ensued commitment thereby mitigating attachment from the workplace manifested in OC (Avery et al., 2008).

The preceding discussion leads the study to offer following propositions:

Hypothesis [H.sub.2a]: SL is directly related to OC.

Hypothesis [H.sub.2b]: SL mediates the relationship between HP and OC

Hypothesis [H.sub.2c]: SL mediates the relationship between OP and OC.

Employees who are cynical feel more disenchanted with their superiors and coworkers and report negative feelings towards their work and their organization. Cynicism has a stronger negative impact on employee through emotional exhaustion and consequently results into fatigue and burnout (Johnson & O'Leary-Kelly, 2003). As a result, Cropanzano et al. (2003) states that emotional exhaustion and employee cynicism would lead to decreased job performance and enhanced intentions that eventually yield turnover. Based on...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT