O'Keefe, P. A., Horberg, E. J., Chen, P., & Savani, K. (2022). Should you pursue your passion as a career? Cultural differences in the emphasis on passion in career decisions. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 43(9), 1475-1495.

Are there cultural differences in the extent to which people believe they should follow their passion when pursuing a career? Three experiments demonstrated that people from the United States, which is a more independent culture, evaluate pursuing a passion as a career more favorably than those from Singapore, a less independent culture. When evaluating others who decided to pursue a passion (vs. a non-passion) as a career, Americans were more likely than Singaporeans to endorse this decision, and to expect subsequent positive outcomes, such as future success and fulfillment (Studies 1–3). This difference was due to Americans’ stronger belief that passions are inherently motivating (Studies 1 and 2), and to Singaporeans’ stronger belief that passions can be problematic at times, such as when they conflict with obligations (Studies 2 and 3). Moreover, the extent to which participants pursued a passion as a career in their own lives predicted their life satisfaction more strongly for Americans than for Singaporeans (Study 3). These findings challenge the idea that pursuing a passion is a universally valued career philosophy and instead suggest that it is culturally constructed.