Relating work engagement and workaholism to entrepreneurial performance

Marjan J. Gorgievski, Juan Antonio Moriano, Arnold B. Bakker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Building on the dualistic approach to passion, the aim of this paper was to examine how work engagement and workaholism relate to entrepreneurs' performance (innovative behavior, business growth, and subjective business performance). Design/methodology/approach: Cross-sectional survey data of 180 Spanish entrepreneurs were analyzed using partial least squares modeling. Findings: Evidence was found for a dual affective pathway to performance. Work engagement related favorably to performance through its relationship with more positive affect and less negative affect. Workaholism related to more negative affect, which in turn related negatively to performance. After controlling for affective states, both work engagement and workaholism still had a direct and positive association with innovative behavior. Research limitations/implications: Limitations are the cross-sectional design and the reliance on self-report measures; although self-reports of business growth can be considered indicative of objective business performance. Bi-directional relationships between the study variables seem plausible. The dualistic approach to passion is a sound theoretical basis for future research on drivers and consequences of work engagement and workaholism. Practical implications: The findings imply that entrepreneurial success can be enhanced by improving entrepreneurs' emotion-regulation strategies to manage their affective states. Workaholics especially would benefit from such strategies. Social implications: Improving entrepreneurial performance has value for society via counteracting economic decline and creation of wealth and jobs. Originality/value: This study adds to our limited understanding of the consequences of work engagement and workaholism. It addresses entrepreneurs, who are an under researched occupational group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-121
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Managerial Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Affective psychology
  • Business performance
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Motivation (psychology)
  • Work engagement
  • Workaholism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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