Gender and the Evaluation of Humor at Work

Jonathan B. Evans, Jerel E Slaughter, Aleksander P J Ellis, Jessi M. Rivin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Although research has added to our understanding of the positive and negative effects of the use of humor at work, scholars have paid little attention to characteristics of the humor source. We argue that this is an important oversight, particularly in terms of gender. Guided by parallel-constraint-satisfaction theory (PCST), we propose that gender plays an important role in understanding when using humor at work can have costs for the humor source. Humor has the potential to be interpreted as either a functional or disruptive work behavior. Based on PCST, we argue that gender stereotypes constrain the interpretation of observed humor such that humor expressed by males is likely to be interpreted as more functional and less disruptive compared with humor expressed by females. As a result, humorous males are ascribed higher status compared with nonhumorous males, while humorous females are ascribed lower status compared with nonhumorous females. These differences have implications for subsequent performance evaluations and assessments of leadership capability. Results from an experiment with 216 participants provides support for the moderated mediation model. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Fingerprint

Wit and Humor
Costs and Cost Analysis

Keywords

  • Gender
  • Humor
  • Leadership
  • Performance evaluation
  • Status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

Cite this

Gender and the Evaluation of Humor at Work. / Evans, Jonathan B.; Slaughter, Jerel E; Ellis, Aleksander P J; Rivin, Jessi M.

In: Journal of Applied Psychology, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{df44b7bc468648bcafe6661df474b0b3,
title = "Gender and the Evaluation of Humor at Work",
abstract = "Although research has added to our understanding of the positive and negative effects of the use of humor at work, scholars have paid little attention to characteristics of the humor source. We argue that this is an important oversight, particularly in terms of gender. Guided by parallel-constraint-satisfaction theory (PCST), we propose that gender plays an important role in understanding when using humor at work can have costs for the humor source. Humor has the potential to be interpreted as either a functional or disruptive work behavior. Based on PCST, we argue that gender stereotypes constrain the interpretation of observed humor such that humor expressed by males is likely to be interpreted as more functional and less disruptive compared with humor expressed by females. As a result, humorous males are ascribed higher status compared with nonhumorous males, while humorous females are ascribed lower status compared with nonhumorous females. These differences have implications for subsequent performance evaluations and assessments of leadership capability. Results from an experiment with 216 participants provides support for the moderated mediation model. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.",
keywords = "Gender, Humor, Leadership, Performance evaluation, Status",
author = "Evans, {Jonathan B.} and Slaughter, {Jerel E} and Ellis, {Aleksander P J} and Rivin, {Jessi M.}",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1037/apl0000395",
language = "English (US)",
journal = "Journal of Applied Psychology",
issn = "0021-9010",
publisher = "American Psychological Association Inc.",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Gender and the Evaluation of Humor at Work

AU - Evans, Jonathan B.

AU - Slaughter, Jerel E

AU - Ellis, Aleksander P J

AU - Rivin, Jessi M.

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

N2 - Although research has added to our understanding of the positive and negative effects of the use of humor at work, scholars have paid little attention to characteristics of the humor source. We argue that this is an important oversight, particularly in terms of gender. Guided by parallel-constraint-satisfaction theory (PCST), we propose that gender plays an important role in understanding when using humor at work can have costs for the humor source. Humor has the potential to be interpreted as either a functional or disruptive work behavior. Based on PCST, we argue that gender stereotypes constrain the interpretation of observed humor such that humor expressed by males is likely to be interpreted as more functional and less disruptive compared with humor expressed by females. As a result, humorous males are ascribed higher status compared with nonhumorous males, while humorous females are ascribed lower status compared with nonhumorous females. These differences have implications for subsequent performance evaluations and assessments of leadership capability. Results from an experiment with 216 participants provides support for the moderated mediation model. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

AB - Although research has added to our understanding of the positive and negative effects of the use of humor at work, scholars have paid little attention to characteristics of the humor source. We argue that this is an important oversight, particularly in terms of gender. Guided by parallel-constraint-satisfaction theory (PCST), we propose that gender plays an important role in understanding when using humor at work can have costs for the humor source. Humor has the potential to be interpreted as either a functional or disruptive work behavior. Based on PCST, we argue that gender stereotypes constrain the interpretation of observed humor such that humor expressed by males is likely to be interpreted as more functional and less disruptive compared with humor expressed by females. As a result, humorous males are ascribed higher status compared with nonhumorous males, while humorous females are ascribed lower status compared with nonhumorous females. These differences have implications for subsequent performance evaluations and assessments of leadership capability. Results from an experiment with 216 participants provides support for the moderated mediation model. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

KW - Gender

KW - Humor

KW - Leadership

KW - Performance evaluation

KW - Status

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85061083285&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85061083285&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1037/apl0000395

DO - 10.1037/apl0000395

M3 - Article

JO - Journal of Applied Psychology

JF - Journal of Applied Psychology

SN - 0021-9010

ER -