Prof. Dr. Andreas König, Universität Passau: „Good fun or laughingstock? How CEO humor affects infomediaries’ social evaluations of organizations“

Prof. Dr. Andreas König, Universität Passau


Hier der Abstract:

We theorize about how CEOs’ expressions of humor affect infomediaries’ social evaluations of organizations. Distinguishing four types of CEO humor—affiliative, self-enhancing, self-defeating, and aggressive—we propose that each CEO-humor type induces a distinct set of primary effects in infomediaries, including specific states of mind as well as attributions about the CEO. Integrating studies on social evaluations and strategic leadership, we propose that the ultimate impact of CEO humor results from a combination of the focal CEO-humor type’s primary effects, the (in)congruence of these effects with infomediaries’ schemas of the CEO’s essential functions, tasks, and social position, and the unique sociocognitive nature and content of the focal social evaluation construct. We apply our framework to the social evaluation constructs of social approval, organizational reputation, and organizational legitimacy. Specifically, we propose that affiliative CEO humor and self-enhancing CEO humor generally strengthen approval, reputation, and legitimacy, whereas self-defeating CEO humor weakens all three social evaluations, and aggressive CEO humor has mixed effects, as it weakens social approval and legitimacy but strengthens reputation. By conceptualizing the implications of CEO humor—a hitherto undertheorized, yet central, element of CEOs’ social behavior—we contribute to scholarly conversations on executive communication, social evaluations, strategic leadership, and organizational humor.