Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

Does Humor Predict Job Satisfaction? A Mediational Role of Self-Efficacy

Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

Does Humor Predict Job Satisfaction? A Mediational Role of Self-Efficacy

Article excerpt

Humor is a universal human practice (Apte, 1985; Lefcourt, 2001). The Conceptualizations of the term 'sense of humor' have oscillated from describing it as an emotion-related personality trait (e.g., habitual cheerfulness; Ruch & Kohler, 1998) to describing it as a coping or defense mechanism; for example, the term 'sense of humor' has been described as a predisposition to sustain a humorous perspective in spite of contrary conditions (Lefcourt & Martin, 1986). In a health care context, humor can reduce tension (Vinton, 1989; Wanzer & Booth-Butterfield, & Booth-Butterfield, 1996), and laughter can improve cardiovascular functioning (Fry, 1994). The positive reactions produced by humor can have pain-relieving effects (Bruehl, Carlson, & McCubbin 1993). Displaying a sense of humor can help in reducing depression, anxiety, and stress, while increasing life/family satisfaction (e.g., Celso et al., 2003; Martin, 1996; Lefcourt, 2001; Martin, 2001; Martin & Dobbins, 1988).

Humor in the Workplace

Most studies on humor have been conducted by sociologists and anthropologists, and are qualitative in nature (e.g., Grugulis, 2002; Martin, 2004). However, humor is an emerging area of research in organizational psychology. Employees cannot avoid job-related stressors. They may encounter various forms and magnitudes of difficulties and obstacles that contribute to occupational stress that can decrease the effective and efficient discharge of responsibilities and can add to job dissatisfaction for example, decreasing positive feelings, beliefs, and behavior about the job (Weiss, 2002). It has been found that the use of humor within the workplace alleviates monotony, work frustration and stress (e.g., Malone, 1980; Pryor Singleton, Taneja, & Humphreys, 2010); it also, encourages effective communication (e.g., Sherman, 1988); and decreases social detachments, resulting in better-quality work relations (e.g., Masten, 1986; Sherman, 1988). Humor appeared to strengthen

relationship with persons in higher management, subordinates and coworkers (Martin, 2007) and contribute to Workplace harmony by expressing cohesion (Holmes & Marra, 2002). Humor also may be an effective way to express disagreements and aggressive feelings (Ackroyd & Thompson, 1999; Holmes, 2000; Holmes & Marra, 2002; Mulkay, 1988). Thus, interest in the possible benefits of introducing humor at workplace has increased. Work environments in which humor is encouraged are thought to produce a happier, healthier, less stressed, and more productive workforce as well as to promote more creative thinking and problem solving (e.g., Moreall, 1997).Thus humor reduces stress, enhances enjoyment, facilitates fun, serves as a tonic to release tension when engaged in monotonous and routine tasks, and facilitates cohesiveness among workers (Collinson, 1988; Martin, 2007).

When used in a positive way, humor carries the potential to act as a buffer against the deleterious effects of workplace stress via its use as a coping strategy, such as; encouraging relaxation, decreasing strain, and managing work-related disappointments (Lippitt, 1982). Humor has the ability to lighten and improve social interactions within stressful situations (Martin, Puhlik-Doris, Larsen, Gray, & Weir, 2003). Individuals, who use humor at work place, have lower level of job related stress and higher level of organizational devotion and job satisfaction (Decker, 1987; Hurren, 2006).

Self-efficacy can be another key factor that determines job satisfaction (Cox et al., 2003). Self-efficacy can be defined as a person's beliefs about their capability to cope and produce designated levels of performance that impact events that affect their lives (Bandura, 1997). Lower levels of self-efficacy are related with lower level of job satisfaction and higher levels of physical strain. In contrast, higher levels of self-efficacy are related to less negative emotional and physical strain caused by extensive work hours and work overload. …

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