Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …


International Journal of Humor Research

Editor-in-Chief: Ford, Thomas E.

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.558
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.084

CiteScore 2018: 1.00

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.367
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.614

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 30, Issue 4


Conversational humor and job satisfaction at work: exploring the role of humor production, appreciation, and positive affect

Christopher RobertORCID iD: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1984-4583 / Serge P. da Motta Veiga
Published Online: 2017-08-26 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2017-0034


This study examined whether everyday conversational humor is related to job satisfaction, and if the relationship is mediated by positive affect. We also explored differences between the roles of humor production and humor appreciation, and tested the cyclical nature of the relationship by examining whether job satisfaction stimulates subsequent humor. Data were obtained through an experience sampling study in which participants completed two brief surveys each day for 10 consecutive workdays (Level 1 n=237–279, Level 2 N=35). Results revealed a positive relationship between humor and job satisfaction that was partially mediated by positive affect, and also indicated that job satisfaction on day t predicted humor production the morning of day t + 1. This study contributes to the literature by examining the previously theorized but untested hypothesis that humor’s effects stem from their impact on affect, and also by exploring the distinction between humor production and appreciation.

Keywords: humor; affect; job satisfaction; experience sampling


  • Abel, M. H. 2002. Humor, stress, and coping strategies. Humor 15. 365–381. doi:.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Booth-Butterfield, M. & M. B. Wanzer. 2017. Humor, stress, and coping. In C. Robert (Ed.), The psychology of humor at work, 76–95. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

  • Cooper, C. D. 2008. Elucidating the bonds of workplace humor: A relational process model. Human Relations 61. 1087–1115. doi:.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Craik, K. H. & A. P. Ware. 1998. Humor and personality in everyday life. In W. Ruch (Ed.), The sense of humor: Explorations of a personality characteristic, 63–94. Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter.Google Scholar

  • Dalal, R. S., H. Lam, H. M. Weiss, E. R. Welch & C. L. Hulin. 2009. A within-person approach to work behavior and performance: Concurrent and lagged citizenship - counterproductivity associations, and dynamic relationships with affect and overall job performance. Academy of Management Journal 52. 1051–1066. doi:.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Decker, W. H. 1987. Managerial humor and subordinate satisfaction. Social Behavior and Personality 15. 225–232. doi:.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Duncan, W. J. 1984. Perceived humor and social network patterns in a sample of task-oriented groups: A reexamination of prior research. Human Relations 37. 895–907. doi:.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Dwyer, T. 1991. Humor, power, and change in organizations. Human Relations 44. 1–19. doi:.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Elfenbein, H. A. 2007. Emotion in organizations: A review and theoretical integration. Academy of Management Annals 4. 315–386. doi:.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Fine, G. A. 1977. Humor in situations: The role of humor in small group culture. In A. J. Chapman & H. C. Foot (Eds.), It’s a Funny Thing, Humor, 315–318. Oxford: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar

  • Fleming, P. 2005. Workers’ playtime? Boundaries and cynicism in a “culture of fun” program. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 41. 285–303. doi:.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Holmes, J. & M. Marra. 2002. Having a laugh at work: How humour contributes to workplace culture. Journal of Pragmatics 34. 1683–1710. doi:.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Judge, T. A., C. J. Thoresen, J. E. Bono & G. K. Patton. 2001. The job satisfaction-job performance relationship: A qualitative and quantitative review. Psychological Bulletin 127. 376–407. doi:.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Lynch, O. 2002. Humorous communications: Finding a place for humor in communication research. Communication Theory 12. 423–445. doi:.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Lyubomirsky, S., L. King & E. Diener. 2005. The benefits of frequent positive affect: Does happiness lead to success? Psychological bulletin 131. 803–855. doi:.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Malone, P. B. 1980. Humor: A double-edged tool for today’s managers? Academy of Management Review 5. 357–360. doi:.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Martin, R. A. 2007. The Psychology of Humor: An Integrative Approach. Amsterdam: Academic Press.Google Scholar

  • Martin, R. A. & N. A. Kuiper. 1999. Daily occurrence of laughter: Relationships with age, gender, and Type A personality. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 12. 355–384. doi:.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Mesmer-Magnus, J., D. J. Glew & C. Viswesvaran. 2012. A meta-analysis of positive humor in the workplace. Journal of Managerial Psychology 27. 155–190. doi:.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Miner, A. G. & T. M. Glomb. 2010. State mood, task performance, and behavior at work: A within-persons approach. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 112. 43–57. doi:.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Miner, A. G., T. M. Glomb & C. Hulin. 2005. Experience sampling mood and its correlates at work. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology 78. 171–193. doi:.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Morreall, J. 1991. Humor and work. Humor 4. 359–373. doi:.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Niven, K., D. Holman & P. Totterdell. 2012a. How to win friendship and trust by influencing people’s feelings: An investigation of interpersonal affect regulation and the quality of relationships. Human Relations 65. 777–805. doi:.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Niven, K., P. Totterdell, D. Holman & T. Headley. 2012b. Does regulating others’ feelings influence people’s own affective well-being? Journal of Social Psychology 152. 246–260. doi:.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Norrick, N. R. 2003. Issues in conversational joking. Journal of Pragmatics 35. 1333–1359. doi:.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Podsakoff, P. M., S. B. MacKenzie & N. P. Podsakoff. 2012. Sources of method bias in social science research and recommendations on how to control it. Annual Review of Psychology 63. 539–569. doi:.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Preacher, K. J. & A. F. Hayes. 2008. Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior Research Methods 40. 879–891. doi:.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Pundt, A. & F. Herrmann. 2014. Affiliative and aggressive humor in leadership and their relationship to leader-member exchange. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology 88(1). 108–125. doi:CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Pundt, A. & L. Venz. 2016. Personal need for structure as a boundary condition for humor in leadership. Journal of Organizational Behavior 38(1). 87–107. doi:CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Raudenbush, S. W. & A. S. Bryk. 2002. Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods, 2nd edn. (Advanced Quantitative Techniques in the Social Sciences Series, No 1). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar

  • Raudenbush, S. W., A. S Bryk & R. Congdon. 2004. HLM 6 for Windows [Computer software]. Lincolnwood, IL: Scientific Software International, Inc.Google Scholar

  • Robert, C. & J. E. Wilbanks. 2012. The Wheel Model of humor: Humor events and affect in organizations. Human Relations 65. 1071–1099. doi:.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Robert, C. & W. Yan. 2007. The case for developing new research on humor and culture in organizations: Towards a higher grade of manure. Research in Personnel and Human Resource Management 26. 205–267. doi:.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Roznowski, M. & C. L. Hulin. 1992. The scientific merit of valid measures of general constructs with special reference to job satisfaction and job withdrawal. In C. J. Cranny, P. C. Smith & E. F. Stone (Eds.), Job satisfaction: How people feel about their jobs and how it affects their performance, 165–194. New York: Maxwell Macmillan.Google Scholar

  • Ruch, W. 1998. Sense of humor: A new look at an old concept. In W. Ruch (Ed.), The sense of humor: Explorations of a personality characteristic, 3–14. Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter.Google Scholar

  • Scollon, C. N., C. Kim-Prieto & E. Diener. 2003. Experience sampling: Promises and pitfalls, strengths and weaknesses. Journal of Happiness Studies 4. 5–34. doi:.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Singer, J. D. & J. G. Willett. 2003. Applied longitudinal data analysis: Modeling change and event occurrence. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Trougakos, J. P., D. J. Beal, S. G. Green & H. M. Weiss. 2008. Making the break count: An episodic examination of recovery activities, emotional experiences, and positive affective displays. Academy of Management Journal 51(1). 131–146.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Vinton, K. L. 1989. Humor in the workplace: It is more than telling jokes. Small Group Behavior 20. 151–166. doi:.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Warren, C. & A. P. McGraw. 2014. Appreciation of humor. In S. Attardo (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Humor Studies, 52–55. Los Angeles: Sage.Google Scholar

  • Wegener, D. T. & R. E. Petty. 1994. Mood management across affective states: The hedonic contingency hypothesis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 66. 1034–1048.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Weiss, H. M. & R. Cropanzano. 1996. Affective events theory: A theoretical discussion of the structure, causes and consequences of affective experiences at work. Research in Organization Behavior 18. 1–74.Google Scholar

  • Weiss, H. M., J. P. Nicholas & C. S. Daus. 1999. An examination of the joint effects of affective experiences and job beliefs on job satisfaction and variations in affective experiences over time. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 78. 1–24.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Wilkie, D. (2013, October 13). Inside joke: Humor can help the bottom line. SHRM. Retrieved from http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/employeerelations/articles/pages/jokes-humor-workplace.aspx.

  • Ziv, A. 1981. The self concept of adolescent humorists. Journal of Adolescence 4. 187–197. doi:.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

About the article

Published Online: 2017-08-26

Published in Print: 2017-09-26

Citation Information: HUMOR, Volume 30, Issue 4, Pages 417–438, ISSN (Online) 1613-3722, ISSN (Print) 0933-1719, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2017-0034.

Export Citation

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in