Humor at work: a study about the relationship between humor styles, satisfaction with management and individual job performance

Ariana Marchezi de Souza, Bruno Felix von Borell de Araujo, Allana Matos de Andrade, Alexandre dos Santos Cerqueira


This research investigated the relation among the humor styles, the employees satisfaction with their leader, and job performance of employees, through a quantitative study. In order to measure the constructs, two questionnaires, validated in previous studies, were used: The Humor Styles Questionnaire from Martin et al. (2003) and the Job Satisfaction Scale from Siqueira (1995). The score for individual performance was obtained from an instrument of assessment called “assessment 360º” used by the company studied. 234 valid answers were obtained and the relation among the variables was studied through the Structural Equation Modeling Method, with PLS estimation (Partial Least Squares – Path Modeling). Were identified significant positive relations among the positive styles of humor (affiliative and self-enhancing) and the employees satisfaction with their leader, and between satisfaction with their leader and job performance. On the other side, significant negative relations were verified among negative styles (aggressive and self-defeating) and employees satisfaction with their leader, been an aggressive humor responsible for 16,81% of dissatisfaction with their leader. This results suggest that organizations may benefit from the selection of leaders with the proper humor styles to reach specific behavior and organizational results.

Full Text:



ALBUQUERQUE, A. S. Bem-Estar Subjetivo e sua relação com personalidade, coping, suporte social, satisfação conjugal e satisfação no trabalho. Tese (Doutorado) - Instituto de Psicologia, Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, 2004.

ARMSTRONG, M.; BARON, A. Performance Management: The new realities. London: IPD, 1998.

AVOLIO, B. J.; HOWELL, J. M.; SOSIK, J. J. A funny thing happened on the way to the bottom line: Humor as a moderator of leadership style effects. Academy of Management Journal, v. 42, n.2, p. 219–227, 1999.

BABIN, B. J.; BOLES, J. S. The effects of perceived co-worker involvement and supervisor support on Service provider role stress, performance and job satisfaction. Journal of Retailing, v. 72, n. 1, p. 57-75, 1996.

BIPPUS, A. M. Humor motives, qualities, and reactions in recalled conflict episodes. Western Journal of Communication, v. 67, n. 4. p. 413–426, 2003.

BROTHERTON, P. The company that plays together. HR Magazine, v. 44, n. 12, p. 76–82, 1996.

BURFORD, C.T. Humor of principals and its impact on teachers and the school. Journal of Educational Administration, v. 25, n. 1, p. 29-54, 1987.

CANN, A.; ZAPATA, C. L.; DAVIS, H. B. Humor style and relationship satisfaction in dating couples:Perceived versus self-reported humor styles as predictors of satisfaction. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, v. 24, n.1, p. 1-20, 2011.

______; WATSON, A. J.; BRIDGEWATER, E. A. Assessing humor at work: The humor climate questionnaire. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, v. 27, n.2, p. 307-323, 2014.

CHIN, W. W. The partial least squares approach to structural equation modeling. In: MARCOULIDES, G. A. (Ed.). Modern methods for business research, p. 295-336, 1998.

COELHO JR., F. A. Suporte à aprendizagem, satisfação no trabalho e desempenho: um estudo multinível. Tese (Doutorado) - Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, 2009.

COOPER, C.D. No laughing matter: the impact of supervisor humor on leader-member exchange quality. Dissertation Abstracts International, v. 64, p. 2161, 2002.

______. Elucidating the bonds of workplace humor: a relational process model. Human Relations, v. 61 n. 8, p. 1087-115, 2008.

DECKER, W. H. Managerial humor and subordinate satisfaction. Social Behavior and Personality, v. 15, n.2, p. 225−232, 1987.

______; ROTONDO, D.M.; Relationships among gender, type of humor, and perceived leader effectiveness. Journal of Managerial Issues, v. 13, n. 4, p. 450-65, 2001.

______; HONG, Yao; THOMAS, J.C. Humor, gender, and perceived leader effectiveness in China. SAM Advanced Management Journal, v.76, n.1, p.44–53, 2011.

FABRIZI, M. S.; POLLIO, H. R. Are funny teenagers creative? Psychological Reports, v. 61, p. 751-761, 1987.

GERHART, B.; WRIGHT, P. M.; MCMAHAN, G. C.; SNELL, S. A. Measurement error in research on human resources and firm performance: how much error is there and how does it influence effect size estimates? Personnel Psychology, v. 53, p. 803-834, 2000.

GRAY E K.; WATSON, D. Emotion, mood, and temperament: Similarities, differences - and a synthesis. In: PAYNE, R. L.; COOPER, C. L. (Org.). Emotions at work: theory, research and applications for management, New York: Wiley, p. 21-43, 2001.

GUZZO, R.; SHEA, G. Group performance and intergroup relations in organizations. In: DUNNETTE M. D.; HOUGH L. M. (Org.). Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Palo Alto: Consulting Psychologists Press, 1992.

HAIR, JR. J. F.; ANDERSON, R. E.; TATHAM, R. L.; BLACK, W. C. Análise multivariada de dados. Porto Alegre: Bookman, 2005.

HUGHES, L. W.; AVEY, J. B. Transforming with levity: humor, leadership, and follower attitudes. Leadership & Organizational Development Journal, v. 30, n.6, p. 540–562, 2009.

JANES, L. M. OLSEN, J. M.; Jeer pressure: The behavioral effects of observing ridicule of others. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, v. 26, n.4, p. 474–485, 2000.

LEFCOURT, H. Humor: The Psychology of Living Buoyantly. New York: Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2001.

LIPPITT, G.L. Humor: a laugh a day keeps the incongruities at bay. Training and Development Journal, v. 36, n. 11, p. 98-100, 1982.

LOCKE, E.A. The nature and causes of job satisfaction. In: DUNNETTE, M. D. (Org.). Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology, Chicago: Rand McNally, p.1297-1349, 1976.

MALONE, P.B. Humor: a double-edged tool for today’s managers? Academy of Management Review, v. 5, n. 3, p. 357-60, 1980.

MARTIN, R. A.; KUPIER, N. A.; OLINGER, L. J.; DANCE, K. A. Humor, coping with stress, self-concept, and psychological well-being. Humor, v.6, n.4, p. 89–104, 1993.

______. The Situational Humor Response Questionnaire (SHRQ) and Coping Humor Scale (CHS): a decade of research findings. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, v. 9, n. 3/4, p. 251-72, 1996.

______. Humor, laughter, and physical health: methodological issues and research findings. Psychological Bulletin, v.127, n. 4, p. 504-19, 2001.

______; PUHLIK-DORIS, P.; LARSEN, G.; GRAY, J.; WEIR, K. Individual differences in uses of humor and their relation to psychological well-being: Development of the humor styles questionnaire. Journal of Research in Personality, v. 37, n.1, p. 48–75, 2003.

______. The psychology of humor: An integrative approach. Burlington, Massachusetts: Elsevier Academic Press, 2007.

______; LASTUK, J. M.; SCHERMER, J. A.; JEFFERY, J.; VERNON, P. A.; VESELKA, L. Relationships between the dark triad and humor styles: A replication and extension. Personality & Individual Differences, v. 52, p. 178-182, 2012.

MARTINS, M. C. F. Satisfação no trabalho: elaboração de instrumento e variáveis que afetam a satisfação. Dissertação (Mestrado) - Instituto de Psicologia, Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, 1984.

______; SANTOS, G. E. Adaptação e validação de construto da Escala de Satisfação no Trabalho. Revista de Psicologia da Universidade São Francisco, PSICOUSF, v. 11, n.2, p.195-205, 2006.

MESMER-MAGNUS, J.; GLEW, D. J.; VISWESVARAN, C. A meta-analysis of positive humor in the workplace. Journal of Managerial Psychology, v. 27, n.2, p.155-190, 2012.

MEYER, J.C. Humor in member narratives: uniting and dividing at work. Western Journal of Communication, v. 61, n. 2, p. 188-208, 1997.

PETTY, M. M.; MCGEE, G. W.; CAVENDER, J. W. A meta-analysis of the relationship between individual job satisfaction and individual performance. Academy of Management Review, v. 9, p. 712-721, 1984.

ROBERT, C.; YAN, W. The case for developing new research on humor and culture in organizations: toward a higher grade of manure. Research in Personnel and Human Resource Management, v. 26, p. 205-67, 2007.

ROMERO, E. J.; CRUTHIRDS, K. W. The use of humor in the workplace. Academy of Management Perspectives, v. 20, n. 2, p. 58−69, 2006.

______; ARENDT, L. Variable effects of humor styles on organizational outcomes. Psychological Reports, v. 108, n.2, p. 649-659, 2011.

RYAN, R. M.; DECI, E. L.; Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, v.55, p. 68-78, 2000.

SELLITTO, M. A., BORCHARDT, M.; PEREIRA, G. M.; Avaliação multicriterial de desempenho: um estudo de caso na indústria de transporte coletivo de passageiros. Gestão e Produção, v. 13, n.2, p. 339-352, 2006.

SHERMAN, L.W.; Humor and social distance in elementary school children. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, v. 1, n. 4, p. 389-404, 1988.

SIQUEIRA, M.M.M. Antecedentes de comportamento de cidadania organizacional:a análise de um modelo pós-cognitivo. Tese (Doutorado) – Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, Distrito Federal, Brasil, 1995.

SMITH, C. M.; POWELL, L.; The use of disparaging humor by group leaders. The Southern Speech Communication Journal, v. 53(Spring), p. 279–292, 1988.

STARBUCK, W. H. Performance measures: prevalent and important but methodologically challenging. Journal of management Inquiry, v. 14, n.3, p. 280-286,2005.

TAMAYO, A. Prioridades axiológicas e satisfação no trabalho. Revista de Administração FEA-USP, v.35, n.2, p.37-47, 2000.

THORSON, J. A.; POWELL, F. C. Sense of humor and dimensions of personality. Journal of Clinical Psychology, n. 49, n. 6, p. 799-809, 1993a.

VALLE, A. R. Monitoramento da satisfação no trabalho em uma Empresa financeira. Tese (Doutorado) - Instituto de Psicologia, Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, 2007.

VECCHIO, R. P.; JUSTIN, J. E.; PEARCE, C. L.; The influence of leader humor on relationships between leader behavior and follower outcomes. Journal of Managerial Issues, v.2, p. 171-194, 2009.

VISWESVARAN, C.; ONES, D. S.; SCHMIDT, F. L. Comparative Analysis of the reliability of job performance ratings. Journal of Applied Psychology, v. 81, n.5, p.557-574, 1996.

WARNARS-KLEVERLAAN, N.; OPPENHEIMER, L.; SHERMAN, L. To be or not to be humorous: does it make a difference?. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, v. 9, n. 2, p. 117-41, 1996.

WESTWOOD, R.I; JOHNSTON, A. Humor in organization: from function to resistance. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, v.26, n.2, p. 219-247, 2013.

WISSE, B.; RIETZSCHEL, E. Humor in leader-follower relationships: Humor styles, similarity and relationship quality. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, v.27, n.2, p.249-269, 2014.

WOOD, R. E.; BECHMANN, N.; ROSSITER, J. R. Management humor: Asset or liability? Organizational Psychology Review, v. 1, n.4, p. 316–338, 2011.

WRIGHT, B.E.; KIM, S.; Participation’s influence on job satisfaction: the importance of job characteristics. Review of Public Personnel Administration, v. 24, n.18, p. 18-40, 2004.

WRIGHT, T. A.; COPRANZANO, R.; Psychological well-being and job satisfaction as predictors of job performance. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, v. 5, n. 1, p. 84-94, 2000.

YIP, J. A.; MARTIN, R. A. Sense of humor, emotional intelligence, and social competence. Journal of Research in Personality, v. 40, n.6, p.1202-1208, 2006.

ZILLMAN, D. Disparagement humor. In: MCGHEE, P. E.; GOLDSTEIN, J. H. (Org.). Handbook of humor research, New York: Springer-Verlag, v.1, 1983.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.






Revista de Administração da UFSM. Brazilian Journal of Management

Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil, eISSN 1983-4659