The developer, according to the specification, cannot directly control when passivation occurs. Although for Stateful Session Beans, the container cannot passivate an instance that is inside a transaction. So using transactions can be a a strategy to control passivation. The ejbPassivate() method is called during passivation, so the developer has control over what to do during this exercise and can implement the require optimized logic.
Some EJB containers, such as BEA WebLogic, provide the ability to tune the container to minimize passivation calls. Taken from the WebLogic 6.0 DTD -”The passivation-strategy can be either “default” or “transaction”. With the default setting the container will attempt to keep a working set of beans in the cache. With the “transaction” setting, the container will passivate the bean after every transaction (or method call for a non-transactional invocation).