Jokes and quarrels: a cross-cultural investigation of humor and conflict transformation in groups

G Andreea, PL Curseu, OC Fodor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study aims to investigate the relationship between different styles of humorous communication (i.e. controlling and liberating) and conflict transformation in groups, in particular the transformation of task and process conflicts into relationship conflict. This study also examines the extent to which power distance moderates the association between controlling humor and relationship conflict.
The authors collected data using a survey from 536 participants from two different countries varying in power distance (Romania and The Netherlands) working in groups in organizations from various sectors.
Supporting the hypotheses presented in this study, multi-level data analyses showed that liberating humor has a positive association with task conflict, while controlling humor has a positive association with both process and relationship conflict. Moreover, task and process conflict mediate the relationship between liberating and controlling humor (predictors) and relationship conflict (outcome). The hypothesis regarding the moderating effect of power distance was not fully supported by the data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)945-960
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Conflict Management
Issue number5
Early online date12 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2023


  • Conflict transformation
  • Controlling humor
  • Liberating humor
  • Process conflict
  • Relationship conflict
  • Task conflict


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