The influence of humor on workplace mentoring and employee attitudes

Zachary M. Love1, Jennifer L. Bowler1, Mark C. Bowler1
1Department of Psychology, East Carolina University, United States
Cite this article:  Love, Z. M., Bowler, J. L., & Bowler, M. C. (2020). The influence of humor on workplace mentoring and employee attitudes. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 48(9), e8459.

Volume 48 Issue 9 | e8459 | Published: September 2020 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.8459

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Organizations are under continual pressure to cultivate an environment in which employees feel valued and committed, and mentoring provides one channel through which this may be achieved. In particular, the dynamics characterizing the mentoring relationship are of paramount importance. In the current study of 108 direct-care staff at a psychiatric hospital, we investigated the influence of 2 aspects of these dynamics—mentor humor style and the frequency with which humor is used—on protégé satisfaction with the mentoring relationship and on several key work-related outcomes (i.e., organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and turnover intentions). Overall, mentor humor style and frequency were both positively associated with protégés’ mentoring satisfaction. Furthermore, mentoring satisfaction favorably influenced protégés’ affective organizational commitment and job satisfaction, both of which were inversely related to their turnover intentions. Theoretical and practical implications of these results, along with the role of indirect effects, are discussed.

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