Using humor and boosting emotions: An affect-based study of managerial humor, employees' emotions and psychological capital

Wijewardena, W, Hartel, C and Samaratunge, R 2017, 'Using humor and boosting emotions: An affect-based study of managerial humor, employees' emotions and psychological capital', Human Relations, vol. 70, no. 11, pp. 1316-1341.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Using humor and boosting emotions: An affect-based study of managerial humor, employees' emotions and psychological capital
Author(s) Wijewardena, W
Hartel, C
Samaratunge, R
Year 2017
Journal name Human Relations
Volume number 70
Issue number 11
Start page 1316
End page 1341
Total pages 26
Publisher Sage Publications Ltd.
Abstract Evidence from emerging scholarly investigations consistently points to managerial humor as fruitful new grounds to expand management knowledge and practice. In light of this, the present study examined managerial humor as an affective event at work that has short-term emotional and long-term psychological outcomes for employees. To test this empirically, we recruited a sample of 2498 Australian employees to participate in a field experience sampling study. We also considered the potential moderating effect of leader-member exchange on the humor-emotions relationship. Findings provide initial support for managerial humor as an affective event such that when employees perceived their manager's humor as positive they reported experiencing positive emotions, and vice versa. Importantly, employees with high-quality relationships with their managers responded to their manager's humor use with a greater number of positive emotions and fewer negative emotions than did employees with low-quality relationships with their managers. We argue that humor is an event that managers must responsibly manage in order to produce positive emotional experiences for employees and support healthy emotion regulation at work. We also discuss the conditions under which it is advisable for managers to use humor with employees, and suggest future research directions to develop this growing field of inquiry.
Subject Organisational Behaviour
Keyword(s) affective events theory (AET)
broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions
experience sampling
leader-member exchange (LMX)
managerial humor
psychological capital (PsyCap)
DOI - identifier 10.1177/0018726717691809
Copyright notice © The Author(s) 2017
ISSN 0018-7267
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