Linking Leader Humor to Employee Innovative Behavior: The Roles of Work Engagement and Supervisor’s Organizational Embodiment

Frontiers in Psychology 11 (2020)
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Abstract

The influence of leader humor on employee innovative behavior has been attracting increasingly more attention from various scholars and enterprises. Based on previous relevant literatures in the fields of humor, leadership, and innovation, this study proposes and verifies a model to examine the internal mechanism and boundary condition of the relationship between leader humor, work engagement, supervisor’s organizational embodiment, and employee innovative behavior. Specifically, this study introduces work engagement as a mediator in the relationship between leader humor and employee innovative behavior, and supervisor’s organizational embodiment as a moderator in the relationship between leader humor and work engagement. Then, this study conducts two separate questionnaire surveys on Chinese employees and their direct supervisors at two different times to collect the sample data. In total, 383 supervisor–subordinate dyads were collected. The results suggest that leader humor can promote employee innovative behavior. Work engagement can partly mediate the influence of leader humor on employee innovative behavior. Supervisor’s organizational embodiment of employee can positively moderate the influence of leader humor on work engagement, which in turn ultimately should account for positive increases of employee innovative behavior. The conclusions from the analyses above not only further verify and develop some previous points on leader humor and employee innovation but also derive certain management implications for promoting employee innovative behavior from the perspective of leader humor.

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