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Joking aside: Theorizing laughter in organizations

Butler, Nick LU (2015) In Culture and Organization 21(1). p.42-58
Abstract
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... (More)
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. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
worker resistance, Bergson, laughter, humour, management control
in
Culture and Organization
volume
21
issue
1
pages
42 - 58
publisher
Routledge
external identifiers
  • wos:000347281900003
  • scopus:84920648398
ISSN
1477-2760
DOI
10.1080/14759551.2013.799163
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
7ed58f7f-9210-45b4-9397-df478ece6f2c (old id 4941583)
date added to LUP
2015-01-27 16:55:59
date last changed
2017-07-23 03:02:51
@article{7ed58f7f-9210-45b4-9397-df478ece6f2c,
  abstract     = {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.},
  author       = {Butler, Nick},
  issn         = {1477-2760},
  keyword      = {worker resistance,Bergson,laughter,humour,management control},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {42--58},
  publisher    = {Routledge},
  series       = {Culture and Organization},
  title        = {Joking aside: Theorizing laughter in organizations},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14759551.2013.799163},
  volume       = {21},
  year         = {2015},
}