This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Workplace Humor and Job Embeddedness: A Cross-National Study between Chinese and U.S. Hospitality Employees




Chen, Han

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Nutrition, Dietetics and Hospitality Management


The hospitality industry has a higher turnover rate when compared to other sectors of the economy. Job embeddedness (JE) was found to be an effective solution of voluntary turnover. The current study aimed to investigate the relationships among hospitality employees’ workplace humor, perceived workplace fun, perceived workplace aggression, and organizational JE. In addition, the research also examined the moderating role of national culture on the relationship among these four variables. Two types of workplace humor, affiliative humor (positive humor) and aggressive humor (negative humor) were investigated in the current study. Both workplace fun and workplace aggression were studied from a multi foci perspective with each including two dimensions, namely, supervisor support for fun, coworker socializing, and supervisor aggression, coworker aggression. Structural Equation Modeling was employed for hypotheses testing. A total of 540 responses were collected from full time entry level restaurant employees in the U.S. (n=274) and China (n=266). The results indicated that hospitality employees’ use of affiliative humor and aggressive humor at workplace was positively associated with their perception of supervisor support for fun and coworker socializing and negatively associated with perceived supervisor aggression and coworker aggression. Furthermore, supervisor support for fun and coworker socializing were positively related to hospitality employees’ organizational JE while only perceived coworker aggression was negatively associated with the organizational JE. Moreover, the results showed that national culture difference between China and the U.S. moderated the relationships between aggressive humor and hospitality employees’ perceived workplace fun, between affiliative humor and perception of workplace aggression, and between perceived workplace fun and hospitality employees’ organizational JE. The research investigated workplace aggression from the target’s perspective and responded to the call for more research of the negative antecedents of JE. The results of the research could contribute to the design of hospitality human resource practices such as training hospitality employees how to use appropriate humor at workplace and reinforcing their perception of workplace fun and reducing the perceived workplace aggression, which will further contribute to the enhanced organizational JE. The research also provided useful human resource practices for hospitality businesses operating internationally, especially in China and the U.S.