A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of gettingthings done (Dwight D. Eisenhower).The power of humor has been well documented in a range of literatures, includingneurology (e.g. Bartoloet al., 2006; Coulson and Williams, 2005), communications (e.g.Gorham and Christophel, 1990; Wanzeret al., 2005), and applied psychology(e.g. Cooper, 2005; Ford and Ferguson, 2004). In organizational studies, there has beensome focus on leaders’ use of humor (e.g. Romero and Cruthirds, 2006) and itsconsequences on work satisfaction (e.g. Davis and Kleiner, 1989), collegiality (e.g.Bowlinget al., 2004), and psychological climate (e.g. Taylor and Bain, 2003). Extendingprevious research, we focus on whether the type of humor that leaders use is associatedwith perceptions of their leadership, in particular transformational leaders. Transformational leadership is comprised of four components: idealized influence,inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration(Bass, 1998). Idealized influence occurs when leaders treat followers fairly and earnfollowers’ trust and respect, thereby serving as a role model. As such, there are twoparts to idealized influence: an attributional component made on the part of thefollower, and a behavioral component enacted by the leader. Inspirational motivationencompasses expressing a compelling vision of the future for followers, andmotivating followers to surpass their expectations. Intellectual stimulation involvesencouraging followers to look at problems in new and different ways, to be creative,and to think independently. Last, individualized consideration entails leaders beingattentive and sensitive to followers’ individual needs and skills. Collectively, the goalof the four facets of transformational leadership is to elevate followers, and to this end,transformational leadership has been associated with higher organizationalperformance (e.g. Dviret al., 2002), employee satisfaction (e.g. Nemanich and Keller,2007), organizational commitment (e.g. Barlinget al., 1996), and employee proactivity(e.g. Madzar, 2001)
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