He who laughs best, leaves last: the influence of humor on the attitudes and behavior of interns
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Internships have become both an important part of undergraduate education and a critical tool for management education and organizational recruitment. To better understand the drivers of interns' work outcomes, we hypothesize that supervisor humor plays a signaling role related to interns that sends implicit messages about organizational and supervisory relationships, and thereby, affects interns' attitudes and behaviors. Using a sample of 184 students enrolled in internship programs, through structural equation modeling, our study empirically examines the relationship between supervisor humor use and intern satisfaction, intention to stay, and negligent behavior at work. Our findings suggest that the use of positive humor is associated with a higher level of intern satisfaction, whereas the use of negative humor has the opposite effect. Intern satisfaction, moreover, is found to mediate the relationship between humor and interns' attitudes at work, suggesting that a supervisor's use of appropriate humor can, through satisfaction, reduce negligent behavior and improve willingness to accept permanent employment at the organization. Based on these findings, we discuss the importance of the dyadic intern-supervisor relationship as a key determinant of internship effectiveness.