The duality between passion and compassion




Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to enhance the understanding of the impact of passion and compassion on innovation and growth and, in this way, add to the current knowledge on organising growth in the context of networking small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Design/methodology/approach – The research was conducted in three networks with a sample of 55 separate SMEs. Through a quantitative study, the anticipated positive impact of passion and compassion on growth and on intermediate innovation issues were tested.

Findings – The analyses reveal no direct significant impacts of passion (own-profitability and interest) and compassion (other-profitability and interest) on growth. However, compassion had a very significant positive impact on manager ideas, which in turn had a positive impact on growth. Passion also had a positive impact, but this was proportionally much smaller. Moreover, the ability to organise the dualities of passion and compassion made a contribution to growth. Research limitations/implications – The results of the research enhance the understanding of an integrative approach of passion and compassion to innovation in a network context.

Practical implications – Networking SMEs can use the findings to better understand and organise own actions to pursue growth. Policy bodies can use the findings to motivate SMEs to pursue growth. Originality/value – The findings of this study enhance the theoretical understanding of passion and compassion and their integrated impact on growth. In firm networks, compassion and passion have a dual impact with compassion being most significant to enable innovation and growth. A contribution is hereby made to organise growth in firm networks.


Keywords Innovation, Growth, Compassion, Network, Passion, Organising Paper type Research paper


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