To read this content please select one of the options below:

The relationship of leaders’ humor and employees’ work engagement mediated by positive emotions: Moderating effect of leaders’ transformational leadership style

Ashita Goswami (Psychology Department, Salem State University, Salem, Massachusetts, USA)
Prakash Nair (Department of Leadership and Organization Development, Infosys Leadership Institute, Bangalore, India)
Terry Beehr (Psychology Department, Central Michigan University, Mt Pleasant, Michigan, USA)
Michael Grossenbacher (Psychology Department, Central Michigan University, Mt Pleasant, Michigan, USA)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 7 November 2016

10755

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine affective events theory (AET) by testing the mediating effect of employees’ positive affect at work in the relationships of leaders’ use of positive humor with employees’ work engagement, job performance, and organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs); and the moderating effect of transformational leadership style on the relationship between leaders’ use of positive humor and subordinate’s positive affect at work.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were obtained from 235 full-time employees working for a large information technology and business consulting corporation. Moderated mediation (Hayes, 2013) was performed to test the proposed model.

Findings

Leaders’ positive humor was related to creation of subordinates’ positive emotions at work and work engagement. Positive emotions at work did not mediate between leaders’ humor and performance or OCBs. In addition, leaders’ use of transformational leadership style made the relationship between leaders’ positive humor and employees’ positive emotions at work stronger.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides evidence of the positive relationship of leaders’ positive humor with employees’ positive emotions at work and work engagement. Such knowledge may help to inform the training workshops in humor employed by practitioners and potentially create a more enjoyable and fun workplace, which can lead to greater employee engagement.

Originality/value

AET helps explain effects of leader humor, but the effects of are complex. Leader’s use of even positive humor is most likely to have favorable effects mainly depending on their leadership style (transformational) and if their humor successfully leads to positive emotions among employees.

Keywords

Citation

Goswami, A., Nair, P., Beehr, T. and Grossenbacher, M. (2016), "The relationship of leaders’ humor and employees’ work engagement mediated by positive emotions: Moderating effect of leaders’ transformational leadership style", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 37 No. 8, pp. 1083-1099. https://doi.org/10.1108/LODJ-01-2015-0001

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles