The Complexity of Workplace Humour


Barbara Plester

Publication Year



Humor at Work



The Complexity of Workplace Humour
Laughter, Jokers and the Dark Side of Humour

Authors: Plester, Barbara

ISBN 978-3-319-24669-7

Draws upon actual empirical workplace examples and experiences of humor and fun Analyzes modern organizational humor through a variety of theoretical lenses from disciplines including: management, sociology, psychology, linguistics and anthropology
One of the few books that deeply analyzes the dark side of humor and fun and the potentially tragic repercussions of humor that ‘goes wrong’

About this book
This book discusses boundaries for organizational humour as well as the jokers and jesters that enliven modern workplaces. It has long been accepted that humour and tragedy can occupy the same space and that is eloquently demonstrated in this book. Using ethnographic research techniques, a selection of stories, ruminations, cartoons, and narratives of events is combined with theoretical conceptions of humour and fun to create a comprehensive analysis of the good, the bad, and the downright ugly in organizational humour.

“The Complexity of Workplace Humour: Laughter, Jokers and the Dark Side of Humour represents a culmination of 12 years of ethnographic research on humor in the workplace. … This book will likely interest scholars involved in researching the development, policing, and promotion of humor in organized environments … . In sum, Plester’s work provides thoughtful reflection on humor in organizations.” (Richard D. Harvey and Heather Walker, PsycCRITIQUES, Vol. 61 (20), May, 2016)

Table of contents (8 chapters)
The Set-Up

Plester, Barbara

Pages 1-16
Preview Buy Chapter $29.95
Theorising Humour

Plester, Barbara

Pages 17-37
Execution of a Joke: Types and Functions of Humour

Plester, Barbara

Pages 39-66
The Organization Joker: A Modern Court Jester

Plester, Barbara

Pages 67-85
Dynamic Humour Boundaries

Plester, Barbara

Short Biography
Dr Barbara Plester
Barbara is currently Senior Lecturer in the Department of Management and International Business at the University of Auckland. Her PhD in Management explored the relationship between humour and organizational culture and she has continued to research organizational humour, fun and play. Within her university Barbara belongs to the Organization Studies group and she teaches Communication, Organizational Behavior and Organizational Theory at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She also co-ordinates the Masters programme in her department. Prior to her academic career, Barbara worked in Publishing and Information Technology companies and has practical experience in Sales, Marketing and HRM.
Barbara has a large, lively and humorous family – the source of much of her fun and laughter. She enjoys walking on the beach, gym classes, reading, drawing, shopping and drinking wine with friends – also the source of more hilarity and fun. She supports social initiatives aiming to reduce childhood poverty and suffering, and in particular, is a supporter of projects assisting crop and water subsistence in Vanuatu and the wider Pacific region. Barbara tries to be cheerful, friendly and optimistic as much as possible and believes that love, laughter and enthusiasm are the key to her happiness and well-being.

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