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Faculty & Research


Understanding the Role of Gender in Humor Expression: Directions for Future Scholarship

Journal Article
Humor expression is a potent interpersonal and professional communication tool, conveying intelligence and competence. This review examines the role of gender in outcomes of humor expression, particularly in professional settings. Despite humor's association with masculinity and stereotypes that women are less funny than men, the authors highlight findings that suggest potentially nuanced benefits of humor for women, depending upon contextual moderators including humor type and status. However, the authors also highlight that extant findings are mixed, limited for methodological reasons, and in some cases, inconclusive, necessitating future scholarship. Given that humor can be a powerful tool, coupled with persistent gender gaps in leadership, the authors call for future research to better understand how, when, and why gender influences the effectiveness of humor expression.

Professor of Organisational Behaviour