Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 363–378 | Cite as

Humor in Teams: Multilevel Relationships Between Humor Climate, Inclusion, Trust, and Citizenship Behaviors

  • Michel TremblayEmail author
Original Paper



This study examines the cross-level influence of positive and offensive leader humor climates on employee inclusion and citizenship behaviors, and the moderating effect of trust in such relationships.


We collected data from a sample of 225 respondents nested within 23 teams from a Canadian financial organization. A multilevel confirmatory analysis was used to provide evidence that variables of this study are distinct and a HLM analysis to test the hypotheses.


We find that employees’ perception of inclusion is influenced much more by an offensive humor climate than by a positive one. The results also suggest that the perception of inclusion plays a significant intermediary role in the influence of humor climates on citizenship behavior. Finally, trust in leaders acts as an important contingent condition in the effectiveness of a humor climate.


Use of humor does not always pay. Offensive humor by supervisor is a risky strategy that may undermine the beneficial effects of positive humor climate, increase employee exclusion and weaker individual performance.


Our study shows the utility of using micro- and macro-approaches, and more specifically, the relevance of adopting an integrative multilevel view of the effect of a humor environment in predicting individual inclusion and citizenship behaviors.


Humor Inclusion Leadership Trust OCB 



The author would like to thank the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for their financial support and Virginie Francoeur and Xavier Rocheleau-Parent for their helpful research assistance.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Omer DeSerres Retailing ChairÉcole des Hautes Études Commerciales de MontréalMontréalCanada

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