Does Supervisors' Positive Humor Always Have Positive Effects on Employees? Supervisor Humor Examined Under Different Working Conditions.
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According to theories which postulate that humor is not restricted to positive meanings and that it can be a double-edged sword, the present paper examines the question whether supervisors? positive humor is always positive. In this matter, the moderating role of work context in terms of social working climate (e.g., reliable and constant appreciation and respect) is investigated in the relationship between supervisors? positive humor and various employees? outcomes.
The present online survey is based on a cross-sectional (n = 726) and longitudinal (n = 150) design with two waves. Hierarchical linear regression analyses were conducted.
Cross-sectional analyses show significant moderation effects. Only in the case of high social working climate, supervisors? positive humor is positively correlated with employees? work engagement and commitment. In the case of low social working climate, supervisors? positive humor is negatively correlated with employees? outcomes. In longitudinal consideration, simple slopes indicate a similar pattern, but all in all the moderation effects are not significant.
The study is based on correlational analyses which do not allow causal interpretations.
The present study calls attention to possible detrimental effects of supervisors? humor, if employees are confronted with low social working climate. Future studies are encouraged to involve specific working conditions when investigating the effects of workplace humor.
Humor in the workplace is still an under-researched phenomenon and this is one of the first studies that considers social working climate as a significant basis for positive effects of supervisors? humor.