Paper published in Humor

Title: How adaptive and maladaptive humor influence well-being at work: A diary study

Author team: Hannes Guenter, Bert Schreurs, IJ. Hetty van Emmerik, Wout Gijsbers, and Ad van Iterson

Abstract: In this paper, we investigate how adaptive and maladaptive humor influence well-being in the workplace. In particular, this study examines the extent to which reactions from others (i.e., humor targets) can moderate the relationship between humor and well-being. Unlike prior research, we adopted a within-person research design. We used data from a two-week-long diary study of 57 Dutch individuals employed in the automotive sector. Our hierarchical linear modeling analysis found that employees are more engaged on days when they express adaptive humor, while they appear more emotionally exhausted on days when they express maladaptive humor. Reactions from humor targets do not moderate the effects of humor. Using a within-person design, this study makes an important contribution to the humor at work literature, which has focused almost exclusively on inter-individual differences.

Citation information: Humor. Volume 26, Issue 4, Pages 573–594, ISSN (Online) 1613-3722, ISSN (Print) 0933-1719, DOI: 10.1515/humor-2013-0032, October 2013

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Paper accepted for publication in JPP

Title: Exemplification and perceived job insecurity: Associations with self-rated performance and emotional exhaustion

Author team: Nele De Cuyper, Bert Schreurs, Hans De Witte, Elfi Baillien, and Tinne Vander Elst

Abstract: Impression management strategies are typically seen as means to obtain something of value and to achieve success. Little is known about potential side effects for the self, or about impression management aimed at prevention of loss. In response, this study probes the relationship between exemplification (i.e., a form of impression management aimed at acquiring the image of model employee) and both self-rated performance and emotional exhaustion, accounting also for the moderating role of perceived job insecurity. We use the Resource Model of Self-regulation and the Conservation of Resources Theory to propose that the association of exemplification with self-rated performance and emotional exhaustion is more positive among job insecure workers than among job secure workers. Hypotheses were tested in a sample of 603 Peruvian workers from different sectors using Structural Equation Modelling. The pattern of results largely supported our hypotheses. We conclude that exemplification may have unintended side effects when workers feel insecure.

Paper accepted for publication in JOHP

Title: The Role of Punishment and Reward Sensitivity in the Emotional Labor Process: A Within-Person Perspective

Author team: Bert Schreurs, Hannes Guenter, Ute Hülsheger, IJ. Hetty van Emmerik

Abstract: In this diary study, we tested the possibility that dispositional reward and punishment sensitivity, two central constructs of reinforcement sensitivity theory, would modify the relationship between emotional labor and job-related well-being (i.e., work engagement, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization).  Specifically, based on a social functional account of emotion, we hypothesized that surface acting entails the risk of social disapproval and therefore may be more detrimental for high than for low punishment-sensitive individuals.  In contrast, deep acting is hypothesized to hold the promise of social approval and therefore may be more beneficial for high than for low reward-sensitive individuals.  Hypotheses were tested in a sample of 237 service workers (N=1584 daily reports) who completed a general survey and daily surveys over the course of ten working days.  Multilevel analyses showed that surface acting was detrimental to well-being, and more strongly so for high than for low punishment-sensitive individuals.  The results are consistent with the idea that heightened sensitivity to social disapproval aggravates the negative effects of surface acting.