Academic journal article International Journal of Education

Relationship between High School Principals' Humor Styles and Teacher Leadership

Academic journal article International Journal of Education

Relationship between High School Principals' Humor Styles and Teacher Leadership

Article excerpt


This study aimed at examining the relationship between high school teachers' perceptions of teacher leadership and school principals' humor styles. A total of 252 teachers employed in 12 high schools located in the city centre of Ankara, Turkey participated in the study. "The Humor Behavior Scale" developed by Cemaloglu, Recepoglu, Sahin, Dasçi and Köktürk (2013) and "The Teacher Leadership Scale" developed by Beycioglu and Aslan (2010) were used to gather data. Results of the study indicated that productive-social humor style was positively and significantly correlated with such dimensions of teacher leadership as institutional improvement, professional improvement, and collaboration among colleagues. Results also revealed that the productive-social humor style was a significant predictor of institutional improvement and professional improvement. Results were discussed within the context of the improvement of the leadership behaviors of teachers.

Keywords: humor styles, teacher leadership, high school, Turkey

1. Introduction

Laughing is an instinctive human behavior. These behaviors refer to a universal body language that shows the degree to what an individual is content with the environment or situation s/he is in. Humor refers to all conditions mediating the acts of laughing and amusing. Humor is widely regarded as a desirable and positive personality trait (Altinkurt & Yilmaz, 2011). From this perspective, humor is a positive concept that is important in every organization and directs the actions of employees. The use of humor in leadership provides many benefits (Clouse & Spurgeon, 1995). Two characteristics which researchers associate with humor often are effective leadership and the capability of leaders to achieve change among followers (Avolio, Howell, & Sosik, 1999; Barbour, 1998; Bass, 1990; Caudron, 1992; Conger, 1989; Dwyer, 1991; Duncan, 1982; Gruner, 1997; Hogan, Curphy, & Hogan, 1994; Farrell, 1998; Kahn, 1989; Safferstone, 1999; Shamir, 1995; Stogdill, 1974; Yarwood, 1995). Therefore, many researchers have highlighted the importance of research on the use of humor by leaders (Decker & Rotondo, 2001; Morreall, 1997). It should also be noted that an appropriate and moderate humor is one of the characteristics of effective teachers. Teachers with an advanced level of this skill reduce disciplinary problems and improve the sense of trust by making education entertaining (Cruickshank, Bainer, & Metcalf, 1995).

Many studies have concluded that when humor is used positively, it strengthens positive feelings (Samson & Gross, 2012), enables people to establish good relationships (Banas, Dunbar, Rodriguez, & Liu, 2011; Özdemir, Sezgin, Kaya, & Recepoglu, 2011), enhances employees' motivation (Recepoglu, Kilinç, & Çepni, 2011), decreases organizational stress and alleviates the problems of employees (Malone, 1980), and improves production (Avolio, Howell, & Sosik, 1999). The previous research dealing with the humor styles and humor usage of leaders reports that humor is an important factor influential on leadership processes (Benham, 1993; Bolinger, 2001; Cross, 1989; Franklin, 2008; Ellis, 1991; Hurren, 2001; Kent, 1993; Koonce, 1997; Phillips, 2000; Puderbaugh, 2006; Rahmani, 1994; Sala, 2000; Vickers, 2004; Williams, 1994; Williams & Clouse, 1991; Ziegler, 1982; Ziegler & Boardman, 1986). Researchers emphasize that humor has a positive effect on the solution of problems encountered in management, managing change, motivating followers, and exhibiting effective leadership behaviors.

Within the framework of humor theories, researchers have exerted effort to better understand and explain the nature of humor. Although a considerable amount of increase has occurred in the number of studies on humor in recent years, the number of studies on the relationship between leadership and humor style is scarce. According to the review of the related international literature, the concept of humor has been associated with humor in the workplace (Bradney, 1957; Caudron, 1992; Consalvo, 1989; Coser, 1959; Decker & Rotondo, 1999; Duncan, 1982, 1984; Duncan & Feisal, 1989; Duncan, Smeltzer, & Leap, 1990; Dwyer, 1991; Goodchilds, 1959; Holmes, 2007; Holmes & Marra, 2006; Murphy, 1986; Romero & Cruthirds, 2006), organizational culture (Clouse & Spurgeon, 1995; Fine & De Soucey, 2005; Gunning, 2001; Holmes & Marra, 2002; Lake, 2008; Linstead, 1985; Robert & Yan, 2005), job satisfaction and burnout (Decker, 1987; Hurren, 2001, 2006; Mertz, 2000; Puderbaugh, 2006; Spurgeon, 1998), emotional intelligence (Teehan, 2006; Yip & Martin, 2005), and leadership and organizational climate (Andersen, 1999; Arendt, 2006; Bateman, 2006; Benham, 1993; Bolinger, 2001; Cross, 1989; Davis & Kleiner, 1989; Decker, 1986, 1987, 1991; Decker & Rotondo, 2001; Ellis, 1991; Franklin, 2008; Hoffman, 2007; Kent, 1993; Koonce, 1997; Philbrick, 1989; Phillips, 2000; Priest & Swain, 2002; Puderbaugh, 2006; Rahmani, 1994; Sala, 2000; Susa, 2002; Vecchio, Justin, & Pearce, 2009; Vickers, 2004; Vinson, 2006; Vinton, 1989; Williams, 1994; Williams & Clouse, 1991; Ziegler, 1982; Ziegler & Boardman, 1986; Ziegler, Boardman, & Thomas, 1985). …

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