University of Oulu

Exploring the relationship between humor types, innovative work behavior and innovative performance

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Author: Atta-Owusu, Kwadwo1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Management and International Business, International Business
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
Persistent link: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:oulu-201604151495
Language: English
Published: Oulu : K. Atta-Owusu, 2016
Publish Date: 2016-04-19
Physical Description: 103 p.
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, Pia
Reviewer: Oikarinen, Eeva-Liisa
Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, Pia
Description:

Abstract

Humor is important human behavior that plays a vital role in communication and social interactions. Being a social phenomenon, humor is pervasive in organizations and workplaces. Because of its playful nature and the amusement it engenders, its presence in organizations is usually seen a distraction. Traditionally, work has been conceived as a serious undertaking hence any seemingly frivolous behavior like humor should not form part of it. However, it has been suggested that humor has numerous benefits and facilitates organizational processes such as innovation. Unfortunately, there are few studies that have examined the role of humor in innovation. This study seeks to deepen understanding of humor’s utility in innovation management by exploring how individuals use of humor in different contexts affect their innovativeness.

The study draws on humor, creativity, innovation and social psychology literatures to develop a conceptual model. It examines how four types of humor used by employees in their interactions with their immediate co-workers (in-group) and with external actors (external group) affect their innovative work behavior and innovative performance. In testing this model, data is collected by a cross-sectional survey conducted in the fall of 2015. Employees from nine Finnish organizations involved in the HURMOS Project were invited to participate. At the end of the survey period, eighty-eight participants (n=88) completed the questionnaire. The data is analyzed by conducting correlational test and hierarchical multiple regression using SPSS Statistics 22 software.

The data analyses revealed some interesting findings. The results suggest that employees use of affiliative humor with the in-group and external group relate positively and significantly to innovative work behavior. Aggressive humor use has no significant relationship with innovative work behavior in the in-group context; but in the external group context, it has a negative significant association with innovative work behavior. The use of coping humor and reframing humor show no significant effect on innovative work behavior in both contexts. Also, affiliative humor, aggressive humor and coping humor show no significant direct relationship with innovative performance. On the contrary, reframing humor, surprisingly, relates positively to innovative performance in both contexts. Lastly, employees innovative work behavior relates positively to innovative performance. This study’s findings contribute to the existing knowledge by stressing the important role humor plays in individual innovativeness.

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Copyright information: © Kwadwo Atta-Owusu, 2016. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.