Assessing humor at work: The humor climate questionnaire

Arnie Cann 1 , Amanda J. Watson 2 ,  and Elisabeth A. Bridgewater 3
  • 1 University of North Carolina Charlotte
  • 2 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • 3 Recovery Centers of King County, Seattle


Humor at work could provide many potential benefits, but the empirical literature does not support many clear conclusions about its role. Two issues have limited the clarity of the findings. First, many studies do not consider the potential negative, as well as positive, associations with humor. Second, no available measure allows researchers to quantify the broad presence of humor in the workplace. The current research describes the development and initial validation of a brief measure, the Humor Climate Questionnaire (HCQ), which assesses positive and negative styles of humor in the workplace climate. The HCQ has a clear four factor structure, good internal reliability for each dimension, and it explains variance in multiple indicators of job satisfaction and commitment beyond that explained by individual differences in humor uses. The HCQ provides a research tool that could be used to assess a variety of predictions about the roles that humor could play in the workplace.

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HUMOR, the official publication of the International Society for Humor Studies (ISHS), was established over 25 years ago as an international interdisciplinary forum for the publication of high-quality research papers on humor as an important and universal human faculty. The journal publishes original contributions in areas such as interdisciplinary humor research, humor theory, and humor research methodologies.