The state of research on leader humor

Dejun Tony Kong, Cecily D. Cooper, John J. Sosik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


During the past two decades, the burgeoning literature on leader humor has documented various ways that humor enables leadership effectiveness. Yet there are problems of construct clarity and measurement associated with leader humor, as well as unanswered questions related to the theoretical frameworks and predictive value of leader humor. We provide a systematic review on leader humor, in which we address the issues of constructs—trait humor versus (behavioral) humor expression—and associated measures, discuss the main and emerging theoretical frameworks, assess the empirical literature via a meta-analysis and path analyses, and offer directions for future research. Our review not only offers theoretical insights for this research area, but also presents empirical gaps and opportunities through a quantitative summary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-40
Number of pages38
JournalOrganizational Psychology Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • affect
  • leader humor
  • leadership effectiveness
  • meta-analysis
  • social exchange

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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