What Has Research Told Us About The Place Of Fun And Humour At Work

3269 words - 14 pages

What has research told us about the place of fun and humour at work? In your view what significance does this research have to offer the practicing manager and students of Organizational Behaviour?

Fun and humour are very ambiguous terms when it comes to completely defining what makes people laugh and enjoy themselves. This is because the two are merely subjective terms for what individuals find enjoyable and funny. We know this through seeing something that makes one person laugh or have fun is not always going to be viewed as funny or enjoyable by another. Research has shown that not only does this subjective divide between opinions on what is fun and funny what is not still stand ...view middle of the document...

com). These studies have the ability to teach students delving into the world of organisational behaviour not only the concepts behind managing fun (what types and when it works best), but also the fun and humour norms that are accepted within different organisational systems for when they themselves eventually join the work system – and how knowing this can work to their advantage.

Fun can be had and ‘administered’ in many different forms within an organisation. Ford, McLaughlin and Newstrom (2003) found that company social events such as social parties and away days were often implemented my management, more than humour, as a way of trying to create a fun workplace environment. This type of fun is known as packaged fun. Packaged fun is used as a tool to ‘make’ employees have fun in attempt to combat morale or productivity issues within the workplace (Bolton et al, 2009). They say that managers have fundamental objectives, such as to increase productivity or decrease employee absenteeism and turnover, disguised as mutually positive experiences for both management and employee in attempt to convey a pluralist approach between the conflicting opinions and interests of managers and workers (Fox, 1973). Managers feel that in a way to improve productivity, a brief break from the difficulties employees are having with tasks to enjoy themselves through things like staff parties and such, will help inspire and reinvigorate employee’s productivity. If managers have a morale focused objective where problems such as low morale can cause high absenteeism, the implementation of fun activities designed to reengage employees can be highly useful, seen applied effectively in the company Flight Centre (2014) who focus their packaged fun activities on relieving tension and increasing their employees commitment to the jobs and tasks within the organisation.
Despite there being evidence from companies that this canned and pre-ready tool of fun at work can be advantageous, there is means to say that what is fun for some people isn’t inherently fun for everyone and can create misery for others (Collison, 1988). Bolton and Wibberly (2007) say that in the case of some employees fun does not come in the form of dictated events and activities enforcing that ‘you must have fun’ and these attempts may only cause hassle and interference with the work; they see fun as something that just comes along with the work they do and the environment they’re in. This is viewed as organic fun; fun which is natural and spontaneous. Organic fun comes in the form of play, jokes and banter all integral parts of creating a fun atmosphere. Workers in a Swedish meat packing factory placed high values on humour at work (Stromberg & Karlsson, 2009) and showed this by displaying different types of humour on the factory floor, such as pure humour; humour that has the sole means to entertain and make people laugh (Mulkay, 1988). The study found that humour, particularly...

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