Proceedings of the 40th International Academic Conference, Stockholm




At the crossroads of cultures and languages, the meaningfulness of humor is often construed subjectively such as at workplace (Merritt, 2013). Because how humor is understood often varies across organizational cultures, so does its meaning as well as its intensity (Avolio et al., 1999; Davies, 2009). It gives rise to a question of whether it could be used as an effective management tool. Weather does this difference in understanding humor have any effect on employees’ performance? And, how does leader-subordinate working relationship evolve under humor use? The proposed paper examines the connection between humor use and performative influence, drawing on the theoretical construct given in “Towards a progressive understanding of performativity in critical management studies” by Christopher Wickert and Stephan Schaefer (20014). They define Performative Effects as “the stimulants for language in order to induce incremental, rather than radical, changes in managerial behavior”. Therefore, humor is not always so favorably viewed at workplace by all employees who could misunderstand a joke of their seniors without any fault of their own; who thus could start suspecting ulterior, sinister motives of their seniors; and who could then resultantly get oversensitive and cautious, especially when seeing how their colleagues are targeted and made a butt of joke by their seniors (see Shamir, 1995).

Keywords: Humor, Leadership, Performance, Management

DOI: 10.20472/IAC.2018.040.072

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