Funny Business: Humor as a Leadership Tool

Humor plays an important part in the workplace, particularly in the manager-subordinate relationship. With the right combination of humor style and leadership Laughing Womanbehavior, a supervisor can help to ease employee uncertainty, and increase team and organizational performance. Effective use of humor in the workplace can improve perceived supervisor support (PSS) and encourage employees to engage in organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). While previous studies have studied the efficacy of humor as part of leadership behavior, there has been little research done on the styles of humor that most effectively promote better PSS and OCB. Michel Tremblay and Megan Gibson recently explored this topic in their article “The Role of Humor in the Relationship Between Transactional Leadership Behavior, Perceived Supervisor Support, and Citizenship Behavior” from Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies.

The abstract:

This study, building on uncertainty management theory, examines the role of humor use by the supervisor andjlaw cover team members in the relationship between leader behaviors, perceived supervisor support, and citizenship behavior. Data were collected from a sample of 284 employees working in nine small organizations. The results show that weak contingent reward leaders are viewed as more supportive when they use constructive and self-defeating humor styles extensively as opposed to aggressive humor, whereas skillful contingent reward leaders are perceived as less supportive when they use constructive and self-defeating humor extensively, and more supportive when they favor an aggressive humor style. Laissez-faire leaders are viewed as less supportive when they use aggressive humor extensively. The results provide only partial support for the buffer effect of constructive humor and the undermining influence of aggressive humor style. Finally, whereas offensive coworker humor is negatively related to organizational citizenship behavior, the results do not provide significant evidence that coworker humor moderates the influence of perceived supervisor support on organizational citizenship behavior. We conclude by discussing the theoretical contributions and practical implications of our findings.

You can read “The Role of Humor in the Relationship Between Transactional Leadership Behavior, Perceived Supervisor Support, and Citizenship Behavior” from Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies by clicking here. Want to be notified of all the latest research like this from Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

This entry was posted in Emotion, Employees, Leadership, Organizational Studies, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , by Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, Management INK. Bookmark the permalink.

About Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, Management INK

Founded in 1965, SAGE is the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. Known for our commitment to quality and innovation, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students across a broad range of subject areas. With over 900 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, and Washington DC, our publishing programme includes more than 560 journals and over 800 books, reference works and databases a year in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale, the cornerstones of which are good, long-term relationships, a focus on our markets, and an ability to combine quality and innovation. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work. We are a growing company, and our financial success comes from thinking creatively about our markets and actively responding to the needs of our customers.

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