[Academic Paper] Academy of Management Journal Presents Professor Wei Wu's Paper

(Correspondent: Yang Yanhong) Professor Wei Wu of the School of Economics and Management and his collaborator’s paper The Mixed Blessing of Leader Sense of Humor: Examining Costs And Benefits was first published in the Academy of Management Journal.

The Academy of Management Journal (AMJ) is a journal of the American Academy of Management (AOM). It is the flagship periodical of the American Management Association and is the most internationally recognized journal in the field of management. Its impact factor is 7.417 in 2017 and it belongs to the class A English periodicals in the management field. This article introduces the Benign Violation Theory (BVT) and combines the social information processing theories to conduct a dialectical study of leader’s sense of humor in organization work. Previous research has paid more attention to the positive output of leader's sense of humor. For example, leader's sense of humor may increase subordinate's work commitment. However, the study points out that the leader's sense of humor might also increase the subordinate'sdeviant behavior in the workplace. BVT proposes that humor consists of three interrelated components. First of all, humor makes the norm conflict inevitable. Second, norm conflicts must be perceived as benign or non-threatening. In other words, excessive norm conflicts can make people feel offended or threatened, thereby weakening the sense of humor. Third, humor needs to satisfy both the first and second conditions.

Social information processing shows that subordinates establish awareness of organizational expectations and values in their interaction with leaders. Because humor shows a norm conflict, leader’s sense of humor sends two important implicit messages to subordinates. First, a sense of humor demonstrates the acceptability of norm violations, which will lead subordinates to participate in the deviant behavior in the workplace. Second, the sense of humor indicates the openness and tolerance of the relationship, which will increase the quality of the exchanges with leaders and increase the staff's work commitment.

This article includes two empirical studies. The first result shows that leader’s humor is positively correlated with increasing subordinates' deviant behavior and is mediated by the acceptability of norm violations in organizations. The second research result shows that leader’s humor can increase employee's work commitment and is mediated by leading member exchanges. Both mediating effects are regulated by the leader’s humor style. The two studies complement each other and fully reveal the “good and bad” sense of humor of leader in the workplace. (Editor: Chen Lixia)

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