PurposeThe 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/approachData 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.FindingsLeaders’ 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/implicationsThis 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/valueAET 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.
Leadership & Organization Development Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 7, 2016
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