Monday, 14 December 2009

Don't laugh - humour in the workplace

Who can forget those classic 'corporate videos' that John Cleese made in the early 1990's? Or David Brent's Office embarrassments. When KIN members asked if there was any research into the role of humour in knowledge sharing, I was hoping that these might be amongst examples and case-studies that might show up.

John Cleese as a civil servant in the halls of...Image via Wikipedia

KIN steering group member, Steve Conway, of Leicester University has been looking into this for us and came up with three well-researched papers. Whilst the papers are peppered with words such as 'jocularity', 'parody', 'absurdity' and 'irony', unfortunately none of these describe the actual treatises. The papers are worth a read from an academic perspective, but what I'd really hoped for were some actual case studies on how humour helped workplace communication. Maybe there is some space for research amongst and by practitioners in the use of humour in knowledge sharing?

BTW here are a few things you will see, but never hear at work:

1. Never give me work in the morning. Always wait until 5:00pm to give it to me. The challenge of a deadline is always refreshing.

2. If it's really a "rush job," run in and interrupt me every 10 minutes to enquire how it's going. That greatly aids my efficiency.

3. Always leave without telling anyone where you're going. It gives me a chance to be creative when someone asks where you are.

4. If you give me more than one job to do, don't tell me which is the priority. Let me guess.

5. Be nice to me only when the job I'm doing for you could really change your life.

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