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Marcus W. Dickson


A review of the literatures on workplace humor and humor and leadership lead to different findings regarding leaders' use of humor in the workplace. The specific purpose of this study is to examine leaders' use of humor in response to organizational stressors. Stressors are a common occurrence in the workplace and can lead to feelings of strain that impede workplace functioning. This study uses a Complexity Theory framework to address the benefits of leaders working to reduce the strain experienced by other organizational members. A policy capturing design was used to examine the relative importance of the severity of organizational stressors, a leader's use of humor to respond to these stressors, and leader gender on ratings of leader effectiveness. The results of the within-subject regression analyses indicated that leaders were rated as more effective when they used a non-humorous response to workplace stressors. Results suggest that humor alone may not be an effective form of communication to address concerns regarding situational stressors.

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