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Contribution Details

Type Conference Presentation
Scope Discipline-based scholarship
Title Leaders laughing never keep their power together? A top-down, behavioral approach to humor
Organization Unit
  • Jamie Lee Gloor
  • Petra Schmid
  • Sam Yam
Presentation Type paper
Item Subtype Original Work
Refereed Yes
Status Published in final form
  • English
Event Title The role of power and powerholders in organizations: Building bridges between psychology and management
Event Type workshop
Event Location Zurich, Switzerland
Event Start Date July 18 - 2019
Event End Date July 19 - 2019
Abstract Text Humor and laughter are ubiquitous at work, predicting a wide range of outcomes such as improved impressions and better leader-follower relationships. Because leaders guide followers’ sensemaking processes, they also set the tone for expressions of and reactions to humor at work. But given its pervasiveness and positive effects, why would a leader react in a way to extinguish it? By integrating the literatures on humor, leadership, and power, we first conceptualize DARE–Deadpan or Aggressive Responses to Extinguish others’ humor–a collection of behaviors motivated to maintain power through increasing social distance and reducing others’ humor attempts. We further propose that subordinates’ humor triggers leaders’ DAREs in less stable hierarchies and among leaders with higher dominance motivation because these factors increase the odds that leaders view subordinates’ humor as power threats. We plan to test these propositions via a behavioral experiment. This research extends emerging work on the “dark side” of humor in organizations, integrating power theory to predict leaders’ negative reactions to their subordinates’ humor.
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