The positive effect of perceived leader humor on negative workplace gossip
This author examined the positive relationship between leader humor as perceived by employees, and employee negative workplace gossip about a leader. Leader humor, as a communication strategy, refers to the extent to which leaders use levity with their employees.
Perceived leader humor in the workplace activated employee perceived team inclusion, which resulted in employees engaging in negative workplace gossip about their leader. The relationship between perceived leader humor and employee negative workplace gossip about a leader was mediated by employee perceived team inclusion. In addition, employee job security moderated the perceived leader humor–employee perceived team inclusion relationship.
The author’s findings have added to the understanding of perceived leader humor. However, it is still unknown why humor is linked to employee negative workplace gossip about a leader. The author’s practical implications seem a little dire. Training is recommended for both leaders who use humor infrequently and those who use humor frequently! The latter leaders need to be warned against excessive use of levity, while the former leaders need training and should take courses to learn how to enhance their humor level. I cannot see this happening in New Zealand. In addition, there should be organizational punishment for employees who engage in negative gossip.
I definitely agree with this measure! Although I have not experienced exactly the same situation, I have experienced being in a workplace where one employee spread untrue gossip about others, thus causing divisions among the whole team. Her behavior had a devastating effect on all staff members.
The author recommends correct management of employee job security, which is sound advice, and would probably reduce negative workplace gossip about a leader.
Katharine Stewart | Copyeditor