HUMOR AS CATALYST AND NEUTRALIZER OF LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS

ABSTRACT This study examines the effects of (in)consistent leadership behaviors in promoting (or suppressing) relevant work outcomes for temporary employees such as interns. Specifically, to better understand the drivers of internship effectiveness, we hypothesized that supervisor humor interacts with leadership style, sending implicit messages about the organizational and supervisory relationship, thus shaping interns’ attitudes and behaviors. Using a sample of 164 interns, we empirically examined the moderating effect of humor (affiliative and aggressive) on the relationship between leadership styles (transformational and laissez-faire), attitudes (satisfaction and stress), and behaviors (negligence and job acceptance intentions) using a two-wave research design. Our findings were consistent with the hypotheses, suggesting that humor needs to be tailored to leadership styles to predict interns’ attitudinal and behavioral responses, with different types of humor interacting differently across leadership styles. Implications for further research are discussed.