How and When Creativity thrives in Construction Projects: A Study of Leader’s Humor

Ahmad Siddiquei*, Saima Ahmad, Kamal Badar, Fahad Asmi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)



The present study aims to advance a new framework to spur creativity at individual and team levels in the construction industry by studying a leader's sense of humor. The authors develop and test a multi-level model to investigate the direct and indirect effects of leader's humor on creativity within teams working on construction projects. The authors draw on the benign violation theory to hypothesize that a leader's sense of humor influences the acceptability of norm violations in teams, which helps to improve their creativity. The authors also integrate the benign violation theory with the social information processing theory to examine the indirect effects of project leader's sense of humor on individual- and team-level creativity via team psychological safety.


The authors collected data from 165 members nested in 45 teams working on construction projects in China. The construct's factor structure and discriminant validity were established through confirmatory factor analysis. The authors used multi-level modeling via Mplus to test team-level to the individual-level direct and indirect hypotheses, while team-level direct and indirect hypotheses were tested using ordinary least squares regression.


The results show that the leader's humor has a dual positive direct effect on individual and team creativity. Furthermore, these effects are partially mediated by team psychological safety. The implications of these findings to improve the construction management theory and practice are discussed in the manuscript.


The current study contributes to the literature by understanding the significance of leader humor in predicting individual-level and team-level creativity within the construction sector. It expands the literature by examining team psychological safety as the underlying mechanism in the relationship between leader humor and creativity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalEngineering, Construction and Architectural Management
Early online date30 Mar 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Mar 2023


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