Jokers Wild: The Importance of Humour in the Maintenance of Organisational Culture

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Humour may have a number of different effects within organizations, but it is usually manifested in one of two major‘joke forms’: standardized/canned or situation/spontaneous. Using examples of each from fieldwork conducted in a large manufacturing bakery, it is argued that both forms depend for their effect on their appositeness to the‘joke in the social structure’Both forms share the capacity to enable the reversal, within the humorous framework, of problematic social relations, patterns of control, or customary mystifications. Humour may be used to create ambiguity or to promote closure: its impact on the organizational culture will depend on the extent to which the symbolic transformations achieved within its boundaries can be transposed into material,‘real-world’relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-767
Number of pages27
JournalSociological review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1985

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