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.
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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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Tremblay, M. Humor in Teams: Multilevel Relationships Between Humor Climate, Inclusion, Trust, and Citizenship Behaviors. J Bus Psychol 32, 363–378 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-016-9445-x