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The judicious use and management of humor in the workplace

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Abstract

Everybody loves humor. In the workplace, it can provide such benefits as stress relief, team unification, employee motivation, idea generation, and frustration diffusion through venting. Despite these positives, it should be stressed that humor in this context has downsides, as well. For example, humor can distract us from the job at hand, hurt our credibility, or cause offense in increasingly diverse work settings. In the midst of this complicated situation stand managers, who occupy a position of responsibility for both the good and bad effects of humor in the workplace. It is the intention of this article to use existing humor theory and a simple model to generate a more analytical understanding of humorous interaction. Suggestions are then offered as to how to use humor and manage the use of humor in such a way as to maximize its benefits, while minimizing its dangers.

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... Which suggestions for humor in teams can we propose without sounding overly simplistic? Lyttle (2007) has already provided specific advice for the workplace, which seems reasonable to us as well: when using humor in teams, one should include everyone in the humorous exchanges. This should increase the chances that humor will unite rather than divide. ...
... When using humor about specific persons, one must exercise caution though. For example, Lyttle (2007) suggests using oneself instead of others as a target. When being the "butt of a joke," one must be clear on the boundaries and must openly say when one feels hurt. ...
... A positive humor-supportive climate can only be built if leaders and all team members engage in open conversations about what types of humor they find appropriate and which types are inappropriate. Finally, Lyttle (2007) suggests preparing humorous exchanges, because planning pays off. This might be an opportunity to get the wheel of humor (Robert & Wilbanks, 2012) started, but one then must let go of the wheel and see how spontaneous humor from other team members continues to spin it. ...
Chapter
Teams and groups are central in our lives. We work in teams and are confronted with teams in our private lives. In this chapter, we will describe the duality of humor in teams—that is, its capacity to unite and to divide. Four processes explain why humor impacts social outcomes in teams—affect-reinforcement, perceived similarity, self-disclosure, and hierarchical salience. A closer look at how laughter and humor developed in our hominid ancestors can deepen our understanding of interpersonal humor effects—laughter is an acoustic signal that the environment is safe and helps positive affect to spread among group members. Current research based on evolutionary theory investigates the spread of positive affect in work teams, the size of natural laughter groups and fake laughter. A micro-level look at specific humorous comments reflects the duality of humor as well. We close with a note of caution, future research ideas, and implications.
... Humor can be incorporated into schools in a variety of ways, including administrative processes (Lyttle, 2007;D. M. Martin et al., 2004) and instruction (Banas et al., 2011;Wanzer et al., 2010). ...
... Positive humor reduces anxiety (Cann et al., 1999;Romero & Pescosolido, 2008), distress (Blanchard et al., 2014;Cann et al., 2014), and tension (Mesmer-Magnus et al., 2012;Romero & Cruthirds, 2006). It enhances employee motivation (Lyttle, 2007;Şahin, 2016), strengthens team unification (Lyttle, 2007;Mesmer-Magnus et al., 2012), and increases creativity (Fluegge-Woolf, 2014;J. Holmes, 2007) and organizational commitment (Francis, 1994;Greatbatch & Clark, 2002;Yarwood, 1995). ...
... Positive humor reduces anxiety (Cann et al., 1999;Romero & Pescosolido, 2008), distress (Blanchard et al., 2014;Cann et al., 2014), and tension (Mesmer-Magnus et al., 2012;Romero & Cruthirds, 2006). It enhances employee motivation (Lyttle, 2007;Şahin, 2016), strengthens team unification (Lyttle, 2007;Mesmer-Magnus et al., 2012), and increases creativity (Fluegge-Woolf, 2014;J. Holmes, 2007) and organizational commitment (Francis, 1994;Greatbatch & Clark, 2002;Yarwood, 1995). ...
Article
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This study investigated teachers’ use of humor in school settings. Eleven lower secondary school teachers from different branches volunteered in this qualitative study. I collected data through individual, face-to-face interviews and used content and descriptive analysis methods for data analysis. In conclusion, the participants mostly said that they generally used positive humor types for useful goals in school settings. The results regarding the participants’ goals of humor usage indicated that using positive humor types in the styles of affiliative humor and self-enhancing humor can be useful for managerial and pedagogical efficiency in schools. As for the results of the metaphorical analysis, participants mainly use positive humor and, to some extent, situational humor. Affiliative humor style was the most preferred one. The results also implied that some participants use self-enhancing humor style and aggressive humor style as well. Overall, this research offers a more complete and detailed understanding of teachers’ use of humor in school settings and can be used to guide teachers and school administrators who want to use humor effectively in both managerial and educational contexts.
... Moreover, employees who use humor to cope with difficult situations tend to see their work environment in a more positive light, even if the organization cannot provide a stress-free experience (Pouthier, 2017). Relativism, which stems from a sense of humor, may encourage employees to accept the organization's work practices, even if some of them are stressful and make it difficult to meet formally expected job duties (Lyttle, 2007;Mesmer-Magnus, Glew, & Chockalingam, 2012). Thus, adaptive humor can help employees counter the frustration associated with a sense of being overburdened (Baba & Jamal, 1991;Johnson et al., 2006) and mitigate the damage to their motivation to perform extra-role work activities. ...
... Thus, adaptive humor can help employees counter the frustration associated with a sense of being overburdened (Baba & Jamal, 1991;Johnson et al., 2006) and mitigate the damage to their motivation to perform extra-role work activities. Employees with a good sense of humor also tend to focus less on their personal well-being and more on how they can contribute to their organization's success (Lehmann-Willenbrock & Allen, 2014;Lyttle, 2007), so they may be less inclined to use experienced job stress as a reason to avoid productive work activities that are not explicitly mentioned in their job descriptions. ...
Article
Anchored in conservation of resources theory, this study considers how employees' experience of job stress might reduce their organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB), as well as how this negative relationship might be buffered by employees' access to two personal resources (passion for work and adaptive humor) and two contextual resources (peer communication and forgiving climate). Data from a Mexican-based organization reveal that felt job stress diminishes OCB, but the effect is subdued at higher levels of the four studied resources. This study accordingly adds to extant research by elucidating when the actual experience of job stress is more or less likely to steer employees away from OCB – that is, when they have access to specific resources that hitherto have been considered direct enablers of such efforts instead of buffers of employees' negative behavioral responses to job stress.
... During the meetings, the leader reinforces the role and identity of group members, through cohesive humour behaviour, that benefits the whole team (Holmes 2000). Consequently, this may strengthen the design manager's position, with both the designers and the constructors potentially strategically aiding the delivery of the project and organizations' objectives, supporting the position that humour is often a management resource intent on boosting productivity (Avolio et al. 1999, Lyttle 2007, Romero and Pescosolido 2008. ...
... It was evident that the chair of the meeting, the design manager (CDM), was often extremely engaged in the humour and, consequently, these findings are consistent with previous studies on leaders and humour (Mesmer-Magnus et al. 2012, Pundt 2015. Although the findings concur with the view that the adoption of humour in a meeting could be a specific management resource or influence strategy (Avolio et al. 1999, Lyttle 2007, Romero and Pescosolido 2008 the image of humorous managers sharing funny stories to bring about effect (see Cooper 2005) was not evident in the case study, and instead how humour was used as a resource was far more nuanced and sophisticated than may have been previously considered in the literature. In multidisciplinary project meetings, there is scope for the different groups to become the source of humour, as was evident in the findings. ...
Article
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Design coordination meetings are the formal discussion venues that support interdisciplinary group interaction during the construction process. Social behaviour needs to be recognized, understood, and evaluated by group members if meetings are to be productive. The role of humour during the practice of coordinating building design has not previously been studied. A non-participant observation method was used to collect qualitative data from consecutive contractor-led design team meetings during a live building project. Using a 360° panoramic video-recording camera, episodes of humour were captured and collated into packets of rich data. These packets were then organized, structured, and analysed using NVivo computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software. The results of the analysis showed that instances of humour do not happen at random but at specific times when they performed distinct functions to facilitate the design coordination process. One notable example was the role of humour in helping to form a cohesive team that was able to manage conflict successfully and thus engender a positive cultural environment. The inclusive findings of the study have demonstrated that humour is a functional aspect of group dynamics during the coordination of design in construction that can influence social interaction and task-related performance.
... This theory studies humor at social and behavioral level and is based on the premise that people laugh at others' shortcomings, failings, or inadequacies (Wolff et al.,1934). According to superiority theory, we may laugh at incongruities only when they are not thereatening to us, when we are not in a dark alley, for example (Lyttle, 2007). However, it can be argued that in classroom context, unlike out-of-class interactions, laughing at the failure of otehrs, may not be the main source of humor. ...
Article
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A substantial body of research emphasizes the importance of humor in teaching/learning processes; however, research on the reasons for non-use of humor in academic contexts has enjoyed scant attention. Addressing this gap, this study examines the reasons for instructors' humor avoidance taking into account student perceived benefits of using humor in academic ESL classrooms. Data were collected through an open-response questionnaire. Participants in a university in Malaysia were asked to provide their views on: (a) the reasons some instructors avoid using humor, and (b) the benefits of using humor in L2 classes. Responses were grouped into relating categories and content analyzed. "Humor is not in their personality," "they lack competence to create humor in L2," and "they are more syllabus-oriented" were the most frequently cited reasons for the non-use of instructor humor. Perceived benefits of instructor humor were placed into three major categories: psychological, social and instructional. Implications of these findings are explored within the content of second language education.
... Humor i tjänstemötet anses åstadkomma en överlag behaglig atmosfär (Gremler & Gwinner 2000, Cooper 2005, Lyttle 2007) och kan användas i syfte att skapa rapport mellan den anställde och kunden (Francis et al 1999). "Ett humoristiskt framträdande manipulerar kundens känslor" (Locke 1996:43, egen översättning) och Sanders (2004) hävdar att ett skojigt småretande i vissa tjänsteverksamheter är en kalkylerad strategi för att attrahera och behålla kunder. ...
... Other studies have suggested that humor is likely to be advantageous to some leaders and their organizations but not beneficial to others. As Lyttle (2007) pointed out, "one danger of using humor is the possibility of causing offense". In a diverse work environment it is more likely to inadvertently offend someone (Quinn, 2000). ...
... Martin (2007) attributed the psychological nature of self-enhancing humour as an instrumental mechanism in better acceptance of life circumstances and coping. Positive humour has been found to deter maladaptive thoughts and replace them with adaptive ones (Lyttle, 2007). This facilitates coping by providing easy access to positive affect (Strick, Holland, van Baaren, & van Knippenberg, 2009). ...
Article
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Humour is considered as a crucial job resource for healthcare professionals. It has been further credited for several positive outcomes such as resilience and well-being. This study investigated: (a) the mediating role of resilience between adaptive humours styles (self-enhancing and affiliative) and well-being at work and (b) the moderating role of self-esteem in the indirect relationship between the adaptive humour styles and well-being at work via resilience. The study was conducted on a sample of 354 healthcare professionals. The findings of the study indicate a significant association between the adaptive humour styles and well-being at work with resilience as a mediator. Furthermore, self-esteem was found to significantly moderate the indirect relationship between self-enhancing humour and well-being at work via resilience.
... Paradoxically, humour may have negative effects, which are not always taken seriously (30). Lyttle believes that humour is like a double-edged blade capable of harming personal relationships (35); when timing is wrong, people may feel insulted or angry (2). Yura et al. (1988), believe that although laughing with others positively impacts relationships, laughing at others has an entirely negative effect on relationships (2). ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Providing holistic nursing care when there is a shortage of personnel and equipment exposes nurses to stress and a higher risk of occupational burnout. Humour can promote nurses' health and influence nursing care. The aim of this study was to describe nurses' experiences of humour in clinical settings and factors affecting it. Methods: This qualitative study investigated nurses' experiences of humour. Five hospitals affiliated to Tehran University of Medical Sciences provided the setting for this study. The participants comprised of 17 nurses with master's and Baccalaureate degrees (BSN) in nursing. These nurses worked at educational hospitals affiliated to Tehran University of Medical Sciences and had minimum work experience of 12 months in various clinical wards. Nurses from all wards were invited to participate in this study. The data were collected through semi structure interviews using guides comprising probing questions. Telephonic interviews were used to further supplement the data. The data were analysed using conventional content analysis. Results: The data were classified into five themes including the dynamics of humour, condition enforcement, Risk making probability, Instrumental use and Change: opportunities and threats. Conclusion: Understanding nurses' perceptions and experiences of humour helps identify its contributing factors and provides valuable guidelines for enhancing nurses and patients' mental, emotional and physical health. Spreading a culture of humour through teaching methods can improve workplace cheerfulness and highlights the importance of humour in patient care in nurses and nursing students.
... 19 Although it is generally argued that there is a delicate balance between 'healthy' and destructive teasing (see e.g. Lytte 2007), once an action is "repeated or spread across an organization" -i.e. when it undergoes ritualisation -it gains a clear destructive function. ...
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This book provides a ground-breaking, interaction-based framework of rituals, drawing on multiple research disciplines. It examines ritual as a relational action constructed in interaction through pre-existing patterns and captures the features of ritual phenomena by analysing interactants' behaviour in culturally and socially diverse contexts.
... Leader identification is the process in which team members start to believe in their leader and are willing to treat the leader as their own person (Cooper 2008). This kind of trust and centripetal force may drive members to follow the leader to grow and progress, and improve job performance (including enhancing employee creativity) (Lee 2015;Mesmer-Megnus et al. 2012;Lyttle 2007). However, many previous studies have supported that leader humor is positively related to employee creativity (Avolio et al. 1999;Vecchioi et al. 2009;Priest and Swain 2002;Collinson 2004). ...
Article
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Recently, several organizations and human resource managers focused on the positive relationship between leader humor and employee creativity. Based on the superiority theory and social interaction perspective, the study examines the relationship between leader self-deprecating humor and employee creativity, and investigates the moderating effects of team harmony and organizational pride. The results using three-wave and 320 valid leader–employee dyads (115 team leaders and 320 employees) from 13 companies in Taiwan show that: (1) leader self-deprecating humor positively affects leader identification; (2) leader identification positively affects employee creativity; (3) leader identification mediates the relationship between leader self-deprecating humor and employee creativity; (4) team harmony moderates the relationship between leader self-deprecating humor and leader identification; and (5) organizational pride moderates the relationship between leader identification and employee creativity. Implications for behavioral researchers and human resource managers are discussed.
... Moran & Massam, 1999 (Holmes, 2006;Robert & Wilbanks, 2012). Lyttle (2007), for example, has indicated that thoughtful and responsible use of humor may increase the credibility of an individual in the workplace. However, the influences of affiliative humor on innovative output, as mentioned above, are found to be negative. ...
Article
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This study explores the relationships among the use of different types of humor (affiliative, aggressive, reframing, and coping humor)—both among immediate co-workers (“ingroup”), and with actors external to the firm (“outgroup”), international competitiveness, as well as innovativeness. An exploratory study based on survey data suggests that humor, when connections exist, is negatively related to international competitive potential and performance. Whether or not these negative effects emerge, depends on with whom and which type of humor is used. However, the situation is not straightforward: innovativeness is positively related to international competitiveness, and to innovativeness, humor types relate in different ways, some positive, some negative. Overall, humor seems to play a relevant, but challenging-to-manage role especially in settings where borders—organizational or national—are crossed: Humor that works as a lubricant for innovation processes, does not necessarily work directly in advancing international competitiveness. Open access: available at: https://journals.fe.up.pt/index.php/IJMAI/article/view/2183-0606_007.002_0006
... Olumlu ya da olumsuz kullanım, meydana getirdiği sonuçlar açısından fark etmekte, bu bağlamda bireyin hangi mizah tarzını benimsediği önem taşımaktadır. Mizahın olumsuz kullanımı, bireyin incinmesine, gücenmesine neden olabilmekte (Lyttle, 2007); diğer yandan, olumlu kullanımı, olumlu duygulanıma katkı sağlayarak psikolojik dayanıklılığı artırmakta, bireyin iyi oluşunu desteklemektedir (Cann ve Collette, 2014). ...
Article
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Bu çalışmada İşyerinde Mizah Yoluyla Başa Çıkma Ölçeği’nin Türkçe’ye uyarlama, güvenilirlik ve geçerlilik çalışmaları yapılmıştır. Öncelikle, Türkçe’ye çevrilen Ölçek maddeleri İngiliz dili uzmanları tarafından değerlendirilmiştir ve öneriler doğrultusunda gerekli düzenlemeler yapılmıştır. Ardından, Türkiye’de hizmet sektöründe çalışmakta olan 403 beyaz yakalı çalışandan veri toplanmıştır. Sonuçlara göre, Ölçek hem bir bütün olarak hem alt boyutları kapsamında yüksek bir iç tutarlılık katsayısına sahiptir. Doğrulayıcı faktör analizi, Ölçeğin hem dört boyutlu yapısını hem tek boyutlu yapısını desteklemiştir. Ölçekten elde edilen puanlarla, iki benzer ölçekten (Mizah Yoluyla Başa Çıkma Ölçeği ve Mizah Tarzları Ölçeği) elde edilen puanlar arasındaki korelasyon katsayıları ölçeğin ölçüt geçerliliğinin bulunduğunu göstermiştir. Bu araştırmanın sonuçları İşyerinde Mizah Yoluyla Başa Çıkma Ölçeği’nin güvenilir ve geçerli olduğunu göstermektedir; ancak Ölçek Türkçe’ye yeni kazandırılmış olduğundan, farklı örneklem gruplarında yeniden test edilmesi önerilmiştir. Ayrıca Ölçeğin alt boyutları ile farklı mizah tarzları arasındaki korelasyon katsayıları ışığında Tartışma bölümünde değerlendirmeler yapılmış, gelecek araştırmalar için önerilerde bulunulmuştur.
... Indelicate use of humor results in negative consequences i.e. negative impact over relationship. Usage of humor in right context has many benefits like enhanced credibility, increased well-beings and creative thinking (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996;Lyttle, 2007;Martin et al., 2003;Mesmer-Magnus et al., 2012). ...
Article
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In business world, organizations cannot afford to ignore satisfaction level of well-informed customers with increasing demands. Angry and annoyed customers switch to other outlets, involve in negative word of mouth and lower intentions of continuity. This study aims to explore dyads customer-salesperson perceptions with respect to word of mouth and expectation of continuity. This study is an endeavor to gauge impact of humor from both perspective i.e. customers and employees. A survey was conducted to collect data from customers and sales staff of banks through self-administered questionnaire with response rate 82%. Data has been analyzed using correlation coefficient and regression analysis in Statistical package of social sciences (SPSS). Research affirms that customer’s perception of humor usage at workplace has significant influence over word of mouth and customer’s intentions of continuity. Research also concludes that salesperson’s perception of humor is not significantly related to word of mouth and customer’s expectation of continuity. There is a common quotation in banking sector “Customer is always Right”. With increasing competition, there is big worth of customer’s say so management of organizations is suggested to ensure use of humor in proper ethical way. This study also explores new horizons to investigate humor usage from culture, racial and religious perspectives.
... Management literature highlights the relevance of using humor in management. Evidence shows that humor usage may be beneficial for the buyer-seller relationship, as humor increases the counterpart's credibility (Lyttle, 2007) and hints at the salesperson's capacity to adapt to a new situation (Martin et al., 2003). Having a positive effect on customer trust (Lussier et al., 2017), humor might thus positively affect the overall sellerbuyer relationship, as Wagle (1985) proposed. ...
Article
Purpose While humor is known to help relational outcomes, its usefulness for sellers to build strong relationships with their business partners and achieve performance remain unknown. Specifically, humor styles (constructive versus offensive) and business sectors (service-based versus other) may play an important role. To fill this gap in extant marketing literature, this study tests the effects of humor styles among salespersons of different business sectors on relationship quality and business performance. Design/methodology/approach This research paper derives hypotheses from prior studies referring to humor effects in psychology and management, business-to-business and relationship marketing literature. The hypotheses are tested using a sample of 175 salespersons operating across different business sectors. Findings While constructive humor is shown to have positive effects on relationship quality and business performance regardless of business sectors, a different pattern is found for offensive humor. Specifically, the results show that business sector moderates the effects of this type of humor, which has negative effects on relationship quality and business performance, but only when used by salespersons in non-service-based business sectors. Research limitations/implications The limitations of the research concern the cultural context. The lack of responses from salespersons from different countries may be considered as a direction for future studies exploring connections between humor usage and culture in business-to-business marketing. Practical implications This study brings strategic insights into how to use humor in a business-to-business context. Originality/value To the best of the author’s knowledge, no previous study has thus far examined the proposed set of inter-related research constructs.
... Several authors have argued that humor-based incongruency leads to increased attention (Cline and Kellaris, 1999;Cline et al., 2003;Eisend, 2011;van Kuilenburg et al., 2011;Smith, 1993) and more elaborated cognitive processing (Cline and Kellaris, 1999;van Dolen et al., 2008;Eisend, 2011). Given the effort involved in processing incongruent stimuli (Heckler and Childers, 1992), and given limited cognitive resources and effort-avoidance tendencies in information processing (Garbarino and Edell, 1997), however, humor elements in a message can reduce attention to and comprehension of other elements appearing in the same message (Cline et al., 2003;Krishnan and Chakravarti, 2003;Lyttle, 2007;Smith, 1993;Strick et al., 2012;Wood et al., 2011). Eisend (2011 refers to this as a "vampire effect". ...
Previous research has indicated that employee joke-telling in the service encounter can have a negative impact on customer satisfaction, particularly with respect to perceived overall message relevance as a mediating variable. The present study is an attempt to examine if these results would be replicated in service encounter settings with other characteristics. Two experiments were conducted, and the previous pattern was reproduced: customer satisfaction was reduced when employees told jokes compared to when jokes were not told. The results also indicate that employee joke-telling reduced both perceived relevance and positive affect, and that these two variables mediated the association between employee joke-telling and customer satisfaction. The results should be seen in contrast to several humor studies in an advertising context showing that humor-comprising ads can have positive effects on the receiver. One main reason for the differences is that a service encounter typically includes also other elements than humor in the employee's communication with a customer, and that employee humor usage attenuates the customer's attention to and comprehension of those other elements.
... İş hayatında mizah kullanımı ile ilgili gerçekleştirilen literatür araştırmalarının, yönetimsel iletişim (Wood vd., 2011) ve işyerinde mizah yönetimi (Lyttle, 2007) gibi örgüt yönetimi perspektifini içerdiği görülmektedir. Ayrıca, işyeri ilişkilerinde mizah kullanımı (Cooper, 2008), mizah tarzları ve liderlik gibi çalışma bağlamları üzerindeki etkileri (Romero ve Cruthirds, 2006), örgüt iklimi kapsamında mizah ve duygular (Robert ve Wilbanks, 2012) gibi alanlarda literatür araştırmaları da gerçekleştirilmiştir. Her ne kadar bu incelemeler faydalı olsa da, bu incelemelerde mizahın işlevleri üzerine söylenenlerin büyük çoğunluğu ampirik olarak test edilmemiştir. ...
Article
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The purpose of this study is to determine the relationship between the positive and negative use of humorof managers and the various job attitudes of employees. Within this scope,the relationship between positive and negative humor and job satisfaction, affective commitment and leader-member exchange are investigated. The data used in the study were gathered by questionnaire from 325 graduatestudents studying at the Karabuk University Institute of Social Sciences and at the same time working in a state and private organization. Research hypotheses were tested by hierarchical regression analysis. As a resultof the study, itwas determined that both positive and negative use of humor of managers affect employee attitudes, but negative use of humor has a stronger influence.
... Indelicate use of humor results in negative consequences i.e. negative impact over relationship. Usage of humor in right context has many benefits like enhanced credibility, increased well-beings and creative thinking (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996;Lyttle, 2007;Martin et al., 2003;Mesmer-Magnus et al., 2012). ...
... In an organizational communication context, the double-edged sword effect has also been found when using humour as a communication strategy. Lyttle (2007), for instance, found that both benefits and risks exist when using humour in the workplace for interpersonal communication: humour works positively through stress relief, team unification, employee motivation, and idea generation. However, it can also offend people, as some types of humour may be upsetting or make people feel uncomfortable if used in a careless manner. ...
Article
Two single-factorial experiments were used to examine the double-edged sword effect of humorously framed crisis response messages on an organization's postcrisis reputation. While experiment 1 was conducted in a crisis situation, experiment 2 examined its effectiveness in the case of a rumour—that is a crisis situation that is not yet confirmed (and thus, it remains uncertain that the events took place). The results indicate that in a crisis situation, humour decreased the perceived sincerity of the organizational response, resulting in higher perceived organizational responsibility for the crisis and hence diminished organizational reputation. However, in the case of a rumour, humour created a more positive organizational reputation through decreased perceived crisis severity, leading to lower perceived organizational responsibility.
... That is, a sense of humour is a personal resource from which employees might draw to counter the negative consequences of an unhappy job situation by convincing influential others to find creative solutions for the difficult situation (Amabile, 1996;Lang and Lee, 2010). Conversely, employees who cannot rely on such humour skills but experience frustration about their current job situation might become overwhelmed by their continuous ruminations and feelings of anger (Lyttle, 2007;Romero and Cruthirds, 2006). In this scenario, they should feel a stronger desire to vent their job-related frustrations by undertaking deviant behaviours (Bowling, 2010). ...
Article
With a basis in conservation of resources theory, this study investigates the relationship between employees’ sense of job dissatisfaction and their engagement in deviant behaviour, as well as the moderating roles that their exposure to abusive leadership and possession of adaptive humour skills can play in this process. Based on two-way survey data collected from employees in Pakistan, the findings show that employees’ unhappy feelings about their job situations enhance the likelihood that they undertake negative behaviours that can harm their organization, especially when they suffer from abusive leadership or lack adaptive humour skills. The buffering effect of their adaptive humour on the positive relationship between job dissatisfaction and deviant behaviour is also particularly salient in the presence of abusive leadership. JEL Classification: D23, D91, M50
... Paradoxically, humour may have negative effects, which are not always taken seriously (McCreaddie & Wiggins, 2008). Lyttle believes that humour is like a double-edged blade capable of harming personal relationships (Lyttle, 2007); when the timing is wrong, people may feel insulted and angry (Buxman, 2008). Yura et al. (1988), believe that, although laughing with others impacts relationships positively; laughing at others has an entirely negative effect on relationships (Buxman, 2008). ...
Article
Full-text available
Providing holistic nursing care when there is a shortage of personnel and equipment exposes nurses to stress and a higher risk of occupational burnout. Humour can promote nurses' health and influence nursing care. The aim of this study was to describe nurses' experiences of humour in clinical settings and factors affecting it. This qualitative study investigated nurses' experiences of humour. Five hospitals affiliated to Tehran University of Medical Sciences provided the setting for this study. The participants comprised of 17 nurses with master's and Baccalaureate degrees (BSN) in nursing. These nurses worked at educational hospitals affiliated to Tehran University of Medical Sciences and had minimum work experience of 12 months in various clinical wards. Nurses from all wards were invited to participate in this study. The data were collected through semi structure interviews using guides comprising probing questions. Telephonic interviews were used to further supplement the data. The data were analysed using conventional content analysis. The data were classified into five themes including the dynamics of humour, condition enforcement, Risk making probability, Instrumental use and Change: opportunities and threats. Understanding nurses' perceptions and experiences of humour helps identify its contributing factors and provides valuable guidelines for enhancing nurses and patients' mental, emotional and physical health. Spreading a culture of humour through teaching methods can improve workplace cheerfulness and highlights the importance of humour in patient care in nurses and nursing students.
... Workplace fun has a playful or humorous nature (Fluegge, 2008), and it has been found that humor is positively related to voice behavior (Tan et al., 2021). Moreover, humor can be used to establish a work environment where employees feel less stress about and more motivation toward their work (Lyttle, 2007). Studies have shown that job stress can lead to the inhibition of voice behavior (Yao et al., 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
The new wave of interest in mobile workplaces is profoundly changing the internal ecology of Chinese companies and creating new stress for employees. To investigate the mechanisms of mobile workplace stress on employee innovative behavior and the role of work–family conflict and employee engagement, we collected 426 valid samples from married male employees in the software and information service industries. The results show that mobile workplace stress has a significant negative effect on employee innovative behavior. In contrast, it has a significant positive effect on work–family conflict and employee engagement. In addition, work–family conflict partially mediates the relationship between mobile workplace stress and employee innovative behavior; employee engagement produces the suppressing effects. The chain intermediary effect of work–family conflict and employee engagement between the mobile workplace and employee innovative behavior is present. When we focus on the high performance of the mobile workplace, we should also pay attention to its impact on the company’s ability for innovation.
... Workplace fun has a playful or humorous nature (Fluegge, 2008), and it has been found that humor is positively related to voice behavior (Tan et al., 2021). Moreover, humor can be used to establish a work environment where employees feel less stress about and more motivation toward their work (Lyttle, 2007). Studies have shown that job stress can lead to the inhibition of voice behavior (Yao et al., 2019). ...
Article
Although the relationship between workplace fun and employee performance is well-documented, research on the link between workplace fun and voice behavior is still in a nascent stage. Integrating workplace fun, leader–member exchange (LMX), and voice behavior theories, in the current research we examined LMX as a mediator of the link between workplace fun and voice behavior. We conducted a crosssectional survey with a sample of 307 subordinates and 82 supervisors employed by eight Chinese companies, and used structural equation modeling to analyze the data. Results show that workplace fun was related both directly and indirectly (via LMX) to employees' voice behavior. Our findings offer insight into the mechanistic processes through which workplace fun affects employees' voice behavior, and suggest that to promote employees' voice behavior, a fun work environment and high-quality LMX relationship should be established in organizations.
... Since laughter can happen for various reasons, it has become a topic of interest for scholars and has been investigated (Clift 2016;Crooke, Gorman, Myers, and Duran 2013;Glenn 2010;Lehmann-Willenbrock and Allen 2014;Lyttle 2007;Marakaki, Merlino, Mondada, and Oloff 2010;Murata 2014;Ojha and Holmes 2010;Rogerson-Revell 2007;Vöge 2008). These studies have shed light not only on the form and function of the use of laughter, but also the interpretation of laughter such as an explicit reaction to humor (Godkewitsch 1976;Meyer 2000). ...
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Laughter is not just an element in human communication that signifies happiness and enjoyment, it can be used as a communication strategy to lubricate successful interaction including business communication. Nonetheless, not many studies have paid attention to laughter in business communication. Therefore, this paper sheds light on how Thai and Burmese participants used laughter in a restaurant and in a business meeting in Yangon, Myanmar. Audio data was collected together with various pieces of ethnographic data, for example, participant observations reported from extensive field notes, semi-structured interviews and audio recordings. The analysis was based on the classification of laughter adopted from Hayakawa (2003), and Murata and Hori (2007). The findings reveal that laughter is deployed as a communication strategy with different purposes such as to make fun of work, to ease tension and to threaten other interlocutors and unveil those factors which stimulate the laughter in informal and formal settings.
... For the nurses, humor played a role in raising concerns, which allowed other members of the healthcare team to "save face." Humor has been shown to be a powerful tool for individuals to discuss errors without losing their credibility in the workplace (Lyttle, 2007). ...
Article
Health professionals working in an interprofessional work environment are entrusted to speak up on behalf of patients. However, that environment is comprised of dynamic intra- and interprofessional hierarchies, characterized by power differentials that affect speaking up behaviors. Drawing on the social bases of power and on power/interaction theory, we analyzed focus group and interview transcripts of 62 health professionals’ accounts of speaking up. We focused on their primary sources of power, and described factors associated with health professionals’ embracing power to speak up for patient safety, as well as those associated with relinquishing power and remaining silent. Nurses primarily employed direct patient information as a source of power to advocate for patients. Senior nurses and attending physicians exercised their legitimate power through titles or expertise, and when embracing that power, often influenced the healthcare team’s speaking up behaviors and the team environment. Physician trainees perceived to have limited sources of power. Participants reported using hospital policies, relationships, and humor for engaging in speaking up behavior. Relinquishing power and remaining silent were associated with fear, anxiety, and lack of confidence. Given the complex, hierarchical environment in healthcare, leaders’ inclusive behaviors for setting a culture for speaking up, including modeling speaking up, are critical.
... In organizational terms, humor includes fun and humorous communication which causes positive cognitions and emotions in employees (Romero & Cruthirds, 2006). However, humor may have positive or negative consequences for organizations by playing constructive or destructive roles at times between the parties (Cann, Watson & Bridgewater, 2014;Lyttle, 2007;Malone, 1980;Meyer, 2000). Therefore, the important thing for organizational sense is to maximize the positive effects of humor by using constructive humor instead of destructive humor. ...
... A humour-friendly culture at work can be achieved by encouraging employees to use humour with positive intentions such as anecdotes, puns and banter (Wijewardena et al. 2016). While moments of playfulness and humorous banter can be functional for employees because they lead to enhanced communication, creativity and bonding, Lyttle (2007) also warns that workplace humour can be a distraction from the job and may cause offence to others. In workplaces, as with other professional settings, humour should be used with care due to differences in people's sense of humour (Romero & Cruthirds 2006). ...
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Much of the existing literature on the tourism-humour relationship focuses on the perceptions of tourists. Little research exists on the views of tourism operators. This study aims to gain a better understanding of the perceptions of tourism operators when deliberately including humour into interactions with customers. The research is based on three workshops with tourism industry stakeholders in North Queensland. Three interactive workshops were delivered by the author from May to July 2017 with the purpose of informing tourism industry stakeholder on how to use humour effectively in interactions with customers. Twenty-three (23) participants joined the humour workshops. The findings of this study explore what tourism operators’ perspectives and concerns are when using humour with customers as a strategic tool for customer engagement.
... Meanwhile, humor use has a unifying effect relative to school heritage, which is evident in the explicit expression of common pride conveyed through the use of funny symbols or verbal and nonverbal representations. Additionally, the unifying effect of humor can be cataloged under the psychological and social benefits of humor (Lyttle, 2007), which gives emphasis on what is constructive, pleasant and adaptable. ...
Article
Institutional progress, stability, and viability require a firmly established culture, through which the distinguishing features of enduring school traditions, customs and practices remain congruent with existing educational demands. This phenomenological inquiry attempts to explore the individual and collective lived experiences of thirteen (13) purposively selected private school principals in the Philippines relative to the significant effects of humor which render the institution stable and viable, and its members – creative, productive, reliable, and united. Through individual, semi-structured and in-depth interview, present findings yielded the Brick-Layering Model of Humor Use in the Building of School Culture that identified six distinctive effects of humor use on culture-building, namely: leveling, adapting, linking, unifying, prompting and perpetuating, which correspond to the six important contributory factors in the development of school culture, namely: demographics, environment, external support, heritage, leadership and core values. The emerged model can guide school leaders in formulating guidelines, implementing principles, initiating meaningful activities, adopting relevant practices and optimizing the use of both tangible and intangible resources to advance the development of a positive school culture.
... Because of humor's irreverence and light-heartedness, it tends to risk painting the joker as less than serious--lacking gravitas. It is hard to move successfully from the role of class clown to that of performance appraiser or conveyor of lay-off notices (Lyttle, 2007). The excessive use of self-effacing humor can erode credibility and, unfairly, this effect is more pronounced for female than male managers (Decker & Rotondo, 2001). ...
Article
This study investigated a reported lack of humor in today's workplaces. A survey of 809 employees at a corporate industrial park tested 12 theoretically-derived explanations. Worries about being distracted from quality and safety concerns turned out to be more important than the fear of offending people. The need to maintain an air of competence and authority varied across industries as an impediment. Surprisingly, the results suggest that taking a break for comic relief might be better than trying to integrate fun into the work itself.
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NetBoards are situated displays designed to fulfil and augment the role of non-digital personal noticeboards in the workplace. Traditionally, these are small corkboards or whiteboards situated outside offices belonging to individuals or small groups of people. By replacing these with large, networked, high-fidelity touch-enabled displays, we attempt to replicate the existing physical systems' flexibility and easeof- use, while enabling more expressive content creation techniques and remote connectivity. We have developed an understanding of the deployment environment and every-day noticeboard practices using an ethnographic study which guided system design. Users can write messages or sketch drawings on their NetBoard, as well as post images and other web-based media. NetBoards can be accessed over the internet, allowing remote viewing and modification. Initial observations of 9 deployed units demonstrate the system's flexibility, showing it being used for maintaining group awareness, workplace personalization, playful communication, and showcasing research.
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Resumen: A principios de este nuevo siglo, uno de los retos más importantes de las sociedades económi-camente más avanzadas es la conciliación de la vida laboral con la familia. De hecho, los enormes cambios socio-demográ-fico-económicos de los últimos años han comportado la necesidad de reorganizar la estructura de las rela-ciones trabajo-familia. La integración de la conciliación de la vida laboral y familiar en la cultura empresarial responde no sólo a razones de carácter legal, sino sobre todo a razones de carácter organizativo/empre-sarial, presentándose como una seria y potente inver-sión en el capital humano. El objetivo de este trabajo es reflexionar sobre los posibles beneficios, tanto para las empresas como para las personas, de la introduc-ción de medidas de conciliación en el ámbito de la cul-tura empresarial, ya que con las herramientas del management tradicional sólo se puede forzar a los individuos a ser obedientes y diligentes, pero no se R e s u m e n puede conseguir que sean creativos, comprometidos, ilusionados y, sobre todo, leales y fieles al proyecto empresarial. Por tanto, la conci-liación trabajo-familia podría representar el necesario esfuerzo hacía una tipología de humanismo empresarial en el cual la persona –en su totalidad– se transforme en elemento central y crucial de la actividad económica. Palabras clave: Conciliación, Relación trabajo y familia, Felicidad y bienestar, Beneficios para las empresas, Beneficios para los trabaja-dores.
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Embedded in Goffman's (1959) concept of impression management and drawing on interview data this article examines cultural and organisational features which come together to shape how police officers construct presentational strategies on social media. The article explores how in presenting an image institutions and individuals must give engaging expression which concurs to a dominant cultural script whilst, simultaneously, avoid giving off expressions which threaten individual and institutional efficacy, reputation and legitimacy. In so doing, it is argued that officers face, and must come to negotiate, a series of challenges. This article considers the nature of these challenges, the ways that institutions and individuals have responded to them and implications for the construction of ‘order’ online.
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Using humor wisely is known to have many benefits in a work-related setting. Despite these potential benefits, there is limited research on this phenomenon in a business-to-business selling context. In light of this absence, the authors introduce a theoretical model explaining the role of humor usage in a salesperson-customer encounter. Specifically, the purpose of this paper is to examine the simultaneous influence of salesperson humor usage on creativity and customer trust, which in turn affect objective sales performance. Using 149 salesperson-customer dyads from a cross-industry survey, the results indicate that (1) salesperson humor usage positively influences salesperson creativity and customer trust, (2) which in turn mediates the influence of humor on objective sales performance. In addition, (3) customer trust also influences word-of-mouth propensity and expectation of relationship continuity. The article's broader contribution is that humor usage may be a fundamental human ability that is central for enhancing creativity and developing strong relationships in a business-to-business setting.
Article
Humour is becoming an increasingly prevalent topic in organization studies. On the one hand, humour is said to enable workers to undermine management control; on the other hand, humour is said to provide managers with a resource for ensuring compliance with corporate objectives. This paper seeks to challenge the duality found in the literature between rebellious and disciplinary forms of humour by examining the meaning and significance of laughter in organizations. Following Bergson, it will be argued that laughter serves to rectify overly rigid behaviour that has temporarily disrupted the natural elasticity of life. This will serve to attune us to the way in which laughter – whether it is directed at a dominant group or a marginalized group – plays a socially normative role in organizations through processes of ridicule and embarrassment.
Article
The study aims to positively analyze the impact of superiors' humor perceived by staff on the latter's innovative work behaviors among all other factors determining an individual's inclination to innovation. The summary of the results is as follows. First, senior superiors' humor is closely related to innovative work behaviors, which is also statistically significant. Second, superiors' affects job commitment to a significant extent. Third, job commitment produces such effects of an mediating variable in the relationship between superiors' and innovative work behaviors on the part of their staff. The results present an empirical lesson that a superiors plays a great role in the process of innovation in the public sector. Therefore, this study concludes that it is necessary to systemize education and training system for superiors in terms of management of a public organization. Empirical studies of innovative behaviors of superiors are likely to contribute to developing the theories of organizational behaviors.
Article
Humor is a topic more and more studied in management. Current articles give various definitions of humor and draw up a typology. They point out its beneficial effects, its contingence and some of its limits. Moreover, literature about organizational change emphasize the importance of considering emotions in change process. Humor is a form of communication that is likely to produce positive emotions and cognitions and, thus, emerges as a potential change lever. In this article, we raise the issue of using humor as a manage tool for change.
Article
Service robots are playing an increasing role in tourism and hospitality. However, this advanced technology is not immune to mistakes. The current research focuses on whether humor could be an effective recovery method in robot failure. Drawing on benign violation theory and regulatory focus theory, two experiments are conducted to demonstrate that, in low-severity failure conditions, humorous responses lead to higher humor appreciation and more positive customer evaluations. However, in high-severity failure conditions, humorous responses lead to higher perceived insincerity and more negative customer evaluations. We also examine the moderating role of anthropomorphism. This paper identifies whether and when humor is appropriate in robot failure and elucidates the introduction and promotion of robot services for managers.
Chapter
This Chapter puts humor under the scientific lens to understand how a typical humor event unfolds. In doing so, the Chapter reviews humor theories and research and develops the Workplace Humor Events Frameowork.
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The past decade has witnessed the resurgence of humor as an important topic of inquiry in organizational research. This momentum is evident in the increased number of publications on employees’ humor behavior at work to a greater extent.
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The aim of this study is to determine the opinions primary school administrators and teachers on humor climates in primary schools. The study was modeled as a convergent parallel design, one of the mixed methods. The data gathered from 253 administrator questionnaires, and 651 teacher questionnaires was evaluated for the quantitative part of the study. The study group of the qualitative part consists of 9 administrators and 12 teachers working in the primary schools. For data collection, the researcher developed and used a semi-structured data collection form consisting of open-ended questions. Qualitative data was also gathered by observation notes. In the quantitative part, a scale was used for gathering data on schools' humor climate. A five-point Likert Scale was used in the questionnaire. Specific descriptive analyses which were conducted to calculate the quantitative data included percentage, frequency, arithmetic means, standard deviation, t-test and one-way ANOVA for unrelated sampling. Where the assumptions of one-way ANOVA were not satisfied, the Kruskal Wallis test was used. The qualitative data obtained was subjected to descriptive analysis and content analysis. The results of humor climate revealed that positive humor types were mostly used in primary schools. The beneficial effect of humor used by administrators was higher than the negative effect on school and subordinates. Parallel to these results, the study observed that positive humor climate styles were predominant in schools.
Article
Consumers regularly experience humor while buying and using products, procuring services, and engaging in various consumption experiences, whether watching a movie or dining with colleagues. Despite an expansive literature on how humor influences advertisers’ communication goals, far less is known about how humor appreciation and comedy production influence the likelihood of attaining various consumption goals, from experiencing pleasure and making better decisions to staying healthy and building relationships. Drawing on a wide range of findings from multiple disciplines, we develop a framework for understanding and investigating the different ways in which experiencing and creating laughter and amusement help—and sometimes hurt—consumers reach their goals. The framework provides key insights into the nuanced role of humor and comedy in consumer welfare.
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Humor ist ein kontextsensitives Phänomen. Folglich wird er auch im Arbeitskontext auf eine bestimmte Art und Weise modelliert. Besonders ist dabei, dass Arbeit per se etwas Artifizielles ist, das stark über Rollenerwartungen und -normen funktioniert, Humor jedoch grundsätzlich eine archaische Natur besitzt. Diese Ambivalenz macht den Humor im Arbeitskontext zu einem besonders lohnenswerten Untersuchungsobjekt. Speziell die hierarchischen Strukturen des Arbeitsumfelds haben einen bestimmenden Einfluss darauf, wie Humor produziert und wahrgenommen wird. Die Folgen von Humor können dabei konstruktiv oder negativ sein – und manchmal ist Humor auch beides zugleich. Essentiell für dieses Kapitel ist neben grundlegenden Gedanken zur Besonderheit der Arbeit die Vorstellung von Erklärmodellen für Humor im Arbeitskontext, wobei auch ein neues Modell entwickelt wird, das Kontexte und Humorstile berücksichtigt.
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Wenngleich wissenschaftliche Literatur zum Thema Humor spärlich gesät ist, mangelt es nicht an Ratgebern, wie man Humor erfolgreich für den Job nutzen kann. Vor allem auch für Führungskräfte gibt es etliche Handreichungen. Problematisch ist jedoch, dass diese Ratgeber komplett aus der funktionalistischen Sicht geschrieben sind, nach der Humor ein Managementtool wie jedes andere ist. Dem ist aber nicht so, sodass man davon Abstand nehmen sollte, allzu pauschale Ratschläge für gelungenen Humor im Arbeitskontext zu geben. Nichtsdestoweniger gibt es besonders für Führungskräfte durchaus Empfehlungen, mit denen man sich am Arbeitsplatz an dieses Phänomen heranwagen kann – wissend, was Humor im Guten wie im Schlechten bewirken kann.
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Humor zu erklären, geschweige denn zu definieren, ist kein leichtes Unterfangen – vielfach werden bereits Humor und Lachen synonym verwendet, was eine Fokussierung auf dieses Phänomen erschwert. Dementsprechend existierten auch Definitionen für Humor wie Sand am Meer. Die großen Humortheorien (Überlegenheits-, Entlastungs- und Inkongruenztheorie) können sich dem Humor nur bei gemeinsamer Betrachtung nähern, wobei sie den Blick auf den Kontext eines Humorereignisses in der Regel nur unscharf wagen. Dabei ist Humor ein soziales Phänomen, das man nur verstehen kann, wenn man die Umwelt nicht außer Acht lässt, in der sich der Humor ereignet. Inwieweit Humor ferner Folgen für Physis und Psyche hat, ist empirisch nicht so einfach zu belegen, wie populärwissenschaftliche Texte glauben machen wollen. Klarer zu umreißen sind anhand des Modells von Martin et al. (2003) dagegen die sozialen Folgen, die von Humor ausgehen.
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to consider how employees’ perceptions of psychological contract breach, due to their sense that their organization has not kept its promises, might diminish their creative behavior. Yet access to two critical personal resources – emotion regulation and humor skills – might buffer this negative relationship. Design/methodology/approach Survey data were collected from employees in a large organization in the automobile sector. Findings Employees’ beliefs that their employer has not come through on its promises diminishes their engagement in creative activities. The effect is weaker among employees who can more easily control their emotions and who use humor in difficult situations. Practical implications For organizations, the results show that the frustrations that come with a sense of broken promises can be contained more easily to the extent that their employee bases can rely on pertinent personal resources. Originality/value This investigation provides a more comprehensive understanding of when perceived contract breach steers employees away from productive work activities, in the form of creativity. This damaging effect is less prominent when employees possess skills that enable them to control negative emotions or can use humor to cope with workplace adversity.
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The purpose of this study is to determine the aim of primary school administrators' use of humor and the organizational effects of their use of humor according to the opinions of the school administrators and teachers. The study was modelled as a multiple holistic case study. The study group consists of 9 administrators and 12 teachers working in the primary schools in the province of Antalya in the year of 2015. For data collection, the researcher developed and used a semi-structured data collection form. The data obtained were subjected to both descriptive analysis and content analysis. As a result, both the administrators and the teachers reported that the constructive use of humor of the primary school administrators was superior to the destructive ones. The results also revealed that the positive effects of the humor used by administrators were higher than the negative effects on school and subordinates. Keywords: Humor, use of humor, organizational effects of humor, primary schools, school administrators.-i Ahmet Şahin (PhD) is currently serving as an assistant professor in Alanya Alaaddin Keykubat University, Faculty of Education, Department of Educational Management. He has served as a teacher, assistant principal and researcher in various educational settings. He is currently studying on the effectiveness of use of humor in schools.
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The thesis I explore in this essay is that organizational members use humorous remarks to discursively construct and organize their cognitive and emotional experiences in and of their organizations. My assumptions are that: (1) organizations are socially constructed through discourse about them (especially managerial discourse), (2) humorous discourse provides a contradiction-centered construction of organizations that operates in the domains of both cognition and emotion, and (3) interpretation of the text of ironic remarks will suggest the processes by which contradictions and their cultural and emotional contexts are socially constructed through discourse. In this essay I use a form of analysis that I developed in relation to humor theory (Mulkay 1988), theories of irony (Brown 1977, Weick and Browning 1986) and Rorty's (1989) concept of the ironic disposition to interpret spontaneous humorous exchanges observed during the regular meetings of a group of middle managers. My interpretations of ironically humorous remarks indicate that the managers in my study constructed at least some of their cognitive and emotional experiences in contradictory ways including: possible/impossible, great/horrible, comic/serious, and upto-date/unprepared, The interpretations also suggest how, in constructing contradiction, the managers reflexively constructed themselves in relation to their organization. The analysis points to a paradoxical understanding of organizational stability and change and informs a contradiction-centered view of organizations.
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Assuming that humour is built on a foundation of recognized contradiction, incongruity and incoherence, then it seems plausible that humour points to dis course capable of revealing the nature and substance of paradox and ambiguity- a topic of increasing interest to students of organization. This paper presents the method and results of a case study illustrating the interpretive possibilities of combining humour analysis with the study of paradox and ambiguity as a means to address everyday experience in organizations. Results are interpreted as indicating a paradox of control and the ambiguity of problem and solution thinking.
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The focus of this paper is on the organizational significance of shop-floor humour and in particular its relationship to gender identity and working-class resistance. A brief review of the literature on organizational humour is followed by a more detailed examination of the illuminating analysis by Willis of school/shop-floor counter-culture. Although his research provides a strong basis for the case study presented below, it is criticized for a tendency to romanticize working-class culture, humour and informal opposition. In contrast, by means of an empirical analysis of joking forms in the components division of a lorry producing factory, the paper then explores not only the collective elements, but also the internal divisions and contradictions that characterize shop-floor relations. By critically questioning the workers' manifest search to secure a highly masculine sense of identity, the paper is able to highlight a 'darker side' of shop-floor culture, which underpins and ultimately undermines the creative humour and collectivity found in the factory.
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Three studies, conducted with 143 undergraduates, are reported that investigated the hypothesis, long held by theorists, therapists, and laypersons alike, that a sense of humor reduces the deleterious impact of stressful experiences. In each study a negative-life-events checklist was used to predict stress scores on a measure of mood disturbance. These studies made use of different measures of Ss' sense of humor, including 4 self-report scales and 2 behavioral assessments of Ss' ability to produce humor under nonstressful and mildly stressful conditions. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses revealed that 5 of the 6 humor measures produced a significant moderating effect on the relation between negative life events and mood disturbance. Ss with low humor scores obtained higher correlations between these 2 variables than did those with high humor scores. Results provide initial evidence for the stress-buffering role of humor. (42 ref)
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Participant observation of a 6-week Executive Development Course suggests that humor provides a key mechanism for enacting a sense of community for group members. Specifically, the study examines the process through which putdown humor helps foster group identity and cohesion in a temporary group. Putdowns followed a pattern of development that signaled increasing trust and inclusion, and was regulated by implicit rules that incubated the emergent solidarity. The meaning of certain humorous episodes was equivocal, but the act of laughing together glossed over the equivocality so that the sense of community was reaffirmed. Further, social identity dynamics appeared to strongly affect perceptions of the appropriateness of humor. The authors conclude that shared putdown humor and the implicit set of rules regarding its use may facilitate solidarity, and they attempt to reconcile why ‘inclusionary putdowns’ were found here when ‘exclusionary putdowns’ are usually reported in the literature.
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The laughter response is seen as not simply a reaction to a universal or generalized causal factor, but to a matrix of, at the minimum, 7 such factors. It is stated that "these situations can be interrelated in evolutionary terms by virtue of their defensive functions and by the role of social conformity to social pressures and norms, codes and institutions permeating their structure." They indicate the relationship between humor and styles of esthetic appreciation and individual ability in psychological differentiation. Numerous research problems remain to be examined in the area of humor and laughter. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Drawing upon ten years of research into the most common—yet complex and often puzzling—human behavior. Dr. R. Provine, the world's leading scientific expert on laughter, investigates various aspects of laughter: (1) its evolution; (2) its role in social relationships; (3) its contagiousness; (4) its neural mechanisms; and (5) its health benefits. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Waterloo, 1984. Includes bibliography.
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Humor is a common element of human interaction and therefore has an impact on work groups and organizations. Despite this observation, managers often fail to take humor seriously or realize its numerous benefits. Humor is more than just funny concepts; it represents a multifunctional management tool that can be used to achieve many objectives. This article describes how managers can use humor to reduce stress and enhance leadership, group cohesiveness, communication, creativity, and organizational culture. Specifically, we suggest humor styles that are best suited to realize these outcomes. Additionally, the effect of humor on organizational outcomes is moderated by individual differences such as ethnicity and gender. Much like selecting the proper tool from a toolkit, managers can select the appropriate humor style suitable for the desired organizational outcome, adjust for individual differences, and achieve positive organizational outcomes.
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Humor has been suggested as an effecive management tool. Reviewed in this paper is the existing research on humor appreciation or what is funny to whom; the influence of humor on group characteristics such as cohesiveness, communications, power, and status; and the linkage, if any, between group dynamic variables and human performance. A list of guidelines for management in matching humor with the situation is given, and some priorities are suggested for research.
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In attempting to persuade employees to support an organizational change strategy, managers usually place their prime emphasis on the cognitive elements of persuasion, using mainly rational arguments. The central message of this article is that, in any change implementation program. the emotional elements of persuasion must be taken into consideration. The importance of emotions in organizations is discussed, and practical methods on how to use emotions in the change process are offered. These methods are organized around five domains: the core messages, how the messages are packaged. the characteristics of the change leaders, the interaction of change leaders with their audience, and the setting in which interactions with employees take place.
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In this study, we examined the links between leadership style, the use of humor, and two measures of performance. Results indicated that leadership style was moderated by the use of humor in its relationship with individual and unit-level performance. Implications for further research on the use of humor by leaders are discussed.
Article
Humor is a common element of human interaction and therefore has an impact on work groups and organizations. Despite this observation, managers often fail to take humor seriously or realize its numerous benefits. Humor is more than just funny concepts; it represents a multifunctional management tool that can be used to achieve many objectives. This article describes how managers can use humor to reduce stress and enhance leadership, group cohesiveness, communication, creativity, and organizational culture. Specifically, we suggest humor styles that are best suited to realize these outcomes. Additionally, the effect of humor on organizational outcomes is moderated by individual differences such as ethnicity and gender. Much like selecting the proper tool from a tootkit, managers can select the appropriate humor style suitable for the desired organizational outcome, adjust for individual differences, and achieve positive organizational outcomes.
Article
Previous research on ingratiation in organizations has identified various categories of ingratiatory behaviors. However, these studies have failed to mention or investigate the ingratiatory power of humor. I integrate past research on ingratiation with research on humor in organizations to propose humor as a type of ingratiatory behavior in the workplace. I describe how humor affects targets, including determinants of humor's effectiveness as an ingratiation strategy, and various outcomes of humor as an ingratiation tactic.
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Humor has been suggested as an effecive management tool. Reviewed in this paper is the existing research on humor appreciation or what is funny to whom; the influence of humor on group characteristics such as cohesiveness, communications, power, and status; and the linkage, if any, between group dynamic variables and human performance. A list of guidelines for management in matching humor with the situation is given, and some priorities are suggested for research.
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Many have acknowledged the favorable, even therapeutic, effects of humor. However, few have attempted to relate humor to the functions of management and leadership. Research on this topic could possibly convert an undeveloped resource into a tool that could enhance our ability to get things done.
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According to the incongruity theory of humor, amusement is the enjoyment of something which clashes with our mental patterns and expectations. This article explores the place of incongruity in human and animal life and the distinctiveness of amusement as a reaction to it. We are the only species that enjoys incongruity, it is suggested, because we are the only species capable of rational thought.
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It has been claimed that humor can provide organizations with a set of skills that will enable employees to remain receptive to change, relieve tension, and contribute to reducing the annual $200 billion cost to U.S. industry for treating maladaptive stress (more than the cost of the effects of smoking). Recently, in Britain, a worker was awarded £6,000 for constructive dismissal. The reason was that he is an Irishman who refused to accept "paddy" jokes in his workplace. Co-author Dermott Keegan has been a hotel manager for nearly twenty years, and had overheard similar jokes in his kitchen. This incident formed the stimulus for the research on which the paper is based. We aimed to investigate the role that humor plays in an extremely important hotel department - the kitchen - and to examine the effects humor has in this department in such matters as staff retention and training. The ultimate aim of the research was practical - by viewing the hotel kitchen from the angle of humor, Keegan hoped to improve the smooth running of this very significant department.
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This review focuses on three fundamental aspects of humor and work. First, we review accepted theories of humor and their implications for the field of management. Second, we review and summarize the research on humor in management and related areas of behavioral science. Third, we provide a specific application of the importance of humor and work with an examination of the legal and arbitral aspects of humor as it relates to employee relations. This review concludes that even though the interest in humor by management has been sporadic, joking behavior remains a pervasive and important topic and has the potential of providing significant insights into management and organizational behavior.
Article
The electrical activity of the brain shows rapid changes associated with information processing. Waveform components within an event-related brain potential (ERP) triggered by a stimulus are indicators of subsequent perceptual and cognitive processing. A positive wave at about 300 milliseconds (P300) following the presentation of a stimulus indicates the activity of categorization while a negative wave at about 400 milliseconds (N400) corresponds with a disruption and possible extension of the categorization process. This "incongruity" wave prompted speculation that similar neural activity might occur in humor. In a pilot study one participant showed clear evidence of P300 and N400 over the whole cortex when responding to humorous stimuli. A subsequent experiment attempted to manipulate the mood of additional subjects prior to the presentation of the humorous stimuli. ERP activity was used to compare jokes that did or did not elicit laughter. Although the mood manipulation resulted in only weak and inconsistent subjective and behavioral changes, there was some evidence of cortical changes. More significantly, jokes that did not produce laughter showed no evidence of the N400 while those that elicited laughter did show this electrical pattern of disrupted categorization.
Article
The experience of humor consists of two simultaneous mental elements: a perception of a normal pattern and a perception of a violation of such a pattern. This study explored how humor was created in narratives within one organization to unify members in the face of potentially divisive values and behaviors. Paradoxically, in this context, humor also served to stress behavioral or characteristic differences among organization members. Problematic values clashing as a result of these differences were channelled and negotiated through humorous narratives. By providing a less threatening means of acknowledging disagreement, humor served to promote unity among organizational members by reinforcing shared values and establishing the social order within the organization in the face of incongruous or conflicting values. Through enabling members to shift between unifying and differentiating narratives, humor allowed organization members to maintain unity in the face of diversity.
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Humor may be a useful managerial tool, contributing to effectiveness and subordinate satisfaction. A survey explored 290 workers' job satisfaction and impressions of supervisors as a function of subject age, subject sex, supervisor sense of humor, and supervisor sexual humor. Subjects rating their supervisors high in sense of humor reported higher job satisfaction and rated other supervisor qualities higher than did subjects rating their supervisors low in sense of humor. In general, the differences between ratings, given low and high sense of humor supervisors, were greater for younger (under 15) subjects than older. Older females downgraded supervisors who used sexual humor, while younger females and males did not. Future research should attempt to relate humor to objective measures of leader effectiveness.
Article
Having “a sense of humor” when negotiations get tough has very little to do with being funny. Enacting rather than claiming, performing rather than arguing, mediators’ humor reveals multiple meanings and uncertainties, multiple perspectives and their limits, and parties’ needs while generating opportunities to learn. Humor can go wrong, and mediators stress a sine qua non: it must be respectful, never used at the expense of a negotiating party. At critical moments in negotiations, humor can be an important tool, if improvised with regard to tone, timing, affect, and respect. Mediators use humor to deconstruct and reconstruct parties’ presumptions of mediators’ authority; to recognize vulnerability, create moments of intimacy, and suggest possible community; to acknowledge painful histories and enable difficult conversations; to provide safety, release, and new collaborative openings. Mediators’ use of humor can signal possibility and hope and, not least of all, level power to encourage autonomy and build capacity — thus creating deliberative space and encouraging deliberative practice as well.
Article
This article addresses the question of women's seeming rejection of sexual harassment law by refusing to apply the label “sexual harassment” in the face of incidents that would easily qualify as such. Building on the work of Bumiller (1988) and the tradition of sociolegal studies focusing on understanding the power of the law in its everyday context (e.g., Merry 1979; Engel 1987; Sarat and Kearns 1993), this analysis explores the “tactical milieu” in which both hostile work environment sexual harassment and tactics for its resistance are produced. Using in-depth interviews with both women and men, the author explores the ways a particular form of hostile work environment harassment–dubbed “chain yanking”–poaches on the realm of ambiguous humor to effect male group solidarity and women's disempowerment. A common countertactic–”not taking it personal”– is analyzed for its simultaneous power as resistance and unwitting collaboration. The contradictory effects of this tactic-countertactic pairing on the naming and claiming of the harm of sexual harassment are examined, as well as the implications this has for combating sexual harassment in the workplace.
Article
This article reports the results of a study conducted to examine the ability of the Situational Outlook Questionnaire (SOQTM) to effectively discern climates that either encourage or discourage creativity and the ability to initiate change in a team setting. The purpose of the study is to examine the concurrent criterion–related validity of the SOQ. The article explores the characteristics in an organisational climate that promote teamwork and some of the tripwires one needs to be aware of in the formation and management of teams. Nine dimensions of the climate for creativity and change as measured by the Situational Outlook Questionnaire are put forward and defined in relation to teams. The methodology and results of the study are reported. The results show that when subjects (N7equals;154) complete the SOQ based on their recollection of a best– and worst–case team experience, the measure is able to consistently and significantly discriminate between the two types of experiences. Conclusions, implications, and areas for future research to further examine the validity of the SOQ are explored.
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Thesis (Ed. D.)--Northern Illinois University, 1996. Includes bibliographical references (p. [161]-170). Photocopy.
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Thesis (Ed. D.)--University of La Verne, 1994. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 182-189).
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Vita. Thesis (Ph. D.)--Pennsylvania State University, 1998. Includes bibliographical references (p. [98]-103). Photocopy.
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Forty-eight undergraduate males participated in an experiment designed to investigate the hypothesis that prior exposure to sexual humor would reduce the level of aggression directed by angry individuals against the person who had previously provoked them. In order to examine this suggestion, subjects were first angered or not angered by a male confederate; next, exposed to either neutral, nonhumorous pictures or to one of two types of sexual humor (nonexploitative, exploitative); and finally, provided with an opportunity to aggress against this individual by means of electric shock. Results indicated that exposure to exploitative sexual humor, but not exposure to nonexploitative sexual humor, significantly reduced the strength of subjects' later attacks against the victim. These findings are discussed in terms of the results of a follow-up study suggesting that individuals are more likely to think or fantasize about exploitative than nonexploitative sexual humor following the removal of such stimuli.
Article
Positive emotional activities have been suggested as modifiers of neuroendocrine hormones involved in the classical stress response. To detect changes in these components during a mirthful laughter experience, the authors studied 10 healthy male subjects. Five experimental subjects viewed a 60 minute humor video and five control subjects did not. Serial blood samples were measured for corticotropin (ACTH), cortisol, beta-endorphin, 3,4-dihydrophenylacetic acid (dopac)--the major serum neuronal catabolite of dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, growth hormone, and prolactin. Repeated measures analysis of variance showed that cortisol and dopac in the experimental group decreased more rapidly from baseline than the control group (p = 0.011, p = 0.025, respectively). Epinephrine levels in the experimental group were significantly lower than the control at all time points (p = 0.017). Growth hormone levels in the experimental group significantly increased during baseline (p = 0.027) and then decreased with laughter intervention (p less than 0.0005), whereas, the controls did not change over time (p = 0.787). ACTH, beta-endorphin, prolactin, and norepinephrine levels did not significantly increase. The mirthful laughter experience appears to reduce serum levels of cortisol, dopac, epinephrine, and growth hormone. These biochemical changes have implications for the reversal of the neuroendocrine and classical stress hormone response.
Article
Four experiments indicated that positive affect, induced by means of seeing a few minutes of a comedy film or by means of receiving a small bag of candy, improved performance on two tasks that are generally regarded as requiring creative ingenuity: Duncker's (1945) candle task and M. T. Mednick, S. A. Mednick, and E. V. Mednick's (1964) Remote Associates Test. One condition in which negative affect was induced and two in which subjects engaged in physical exercise (intended to represent affectless arousal) failed to produce comparable improvements in creative performance. The influence of positive affect on creativity was discussed in terms of a broader theory of the impact of positive affect on cognitive organization.
Article
Using fMRI at a static magnetic field strength of 1.5T, we investigated how comprehension and humor of sentences would correlate to activation of the language areas in listening comprehension of a native language. Sentences with a high comprehension score augmented activation in the left inferior parietal lobule and posterior part of the left superior temporal gyrus, which may be related to semantic processing. Sentences with a high humor score induced activation in Broca's area, which may be associated with syntactic processing and auditory working memory. Furthermore, sentences with a high humor factor and/or a low comprehension score activated the middle frontal gyrus, which may be attributed to auditory working memory.
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