Elucidating the bonds of workplace humor

A relational process model

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

97 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A number of studies have demonstrated that humor can impact both horizontal and vertical relationships in organizations, but little is known about the interpersonal processes underlying this link. By integrating theory and research from the fields of philosophy, social psychology, communications, and leadership, it is possible to illuminate a combination of processes which, considered collectively, explain humor's ability to create, maintain, impede, or destroy relationships at work. I first review the classical theories of humor, which explain what motivates individuals to express humor and what determines humor enjoyment. However, since these frameworks focus on humor at the individual-level of analysis, they cannot speak to the social processes involved in a humor exchange. Research in the fields of social psychology, communications, and leadership provides insight regarding the remaining social mechanisms. In sum, it appears that interpersonal humor operates through four related but distinct processes: affect-reinforcement, similarity-attraction, self-disclosure, and hierarchical salience. These social processes are proposed to function in addition to (not in lieu of) the individual-level mechanisms the classical humor theories describe. The discussion, thus, culminates in a relational process model of humor, contributing a more fine-grained understanding of interpersonal humor to the organizational literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1087-1115
Number of pages29
JournalHuman Relations
Volume61
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008

Fingerprint

humor
workplace
Communication
Reinforcement
social psychology
social process
communications
Work place
Process model
Work Place
Process Model
leadership
reinforcement

Keywords

  • Affect-reinforcement
  • Communications
  • Humor
  • Self-disclosure
  • Similarity-attraction
  • Workplace relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

Cite this

Elucidating the bonds of workplace humor : A relational process model. / Cooper, Cecily.

In: Human Relations, Vol. 61, No. 8, 01.08.2008, p. 1087-1115.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

@article{06b89c53017d4fe4b500a3fb5a3d8d1e,
title = "Elucidating the bonds of workplace humor: A relational process model",
abstract = "A number of studies have demonstrated that humor can impact both horizontal and vertical relationships in organizations, but little is known about the interpersonal processes underlying this link. By integrating theory and research from the fields of philosophy, social psychology, communications, and leadership, it is possible to illuminate a combination of processes which, considered collectively, explain humor's ability to create, maintain, impede, or destroy relationships at work. I first review the classical theories of humor, which explain what motivates individuals to express humor and what determines humor enjoyment. However, since these frameworks focus on humor at the individual-level of analysis, they cannot speak to the social processes involved in a humor exchange. Research in the fields of social psychology, communications, and leadership provides insight regarding the remaining social mechanisms. In sum, it appears that interpersonal humor operates through four related but distinct processes: affect-reinforcement, similarity-attraction, self-disclosure, and hierarchical salience. These social processes are proposed to function in addition to (not in lieu of) the individual-level mechanisms the classical humor theories describe. The discussion, thus, culminates in a relational process model of humor, contributing a more fine-grained understanding of interpersonal humor to the organizational literature.",
keywords = "Affect-reinforcement, Communications, Humor, Self-disclosure, Similarity-attraction, Workplace relations",
author = "Cecily Cooper",
year = "2008",
month = "8",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/0018726708094861",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "61",
pages = "1087--1115",
journal = "Human Relations",
issn = "0018-7267",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Ltd",
number = "8",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Elucidating the bonds of workplace humor

T2 - A relational process model

AU - Cooper, Cecily

PY - 2008/8/1

Y1 - 2008/8/1

N2 - A number of studies have demonstrated that humor can impact both horizontal and vertical relationships in organizations, but little is known about the interpersonal processes underlying this link. By integrating theory and research from the fields of philosophy, social psychology, communications, and leadership, it is possible to illuminate a combination of processes which, considered collectively, explain humor's ability to create, maintain, impede, or destroy relationships at work. I first review the classical theories of humor, which explain what motivates individuals to express humor and what determines humor enjoyment. However, since these frameworks focus on humor at the individual-level of analysis, they cannot speak to the social processes involved in a humor exchange. Research in the fields of social psychology, communications, and leadership provides insight regarding the remaining social mechanisms. In sum, it appears that interpersonal humor operates through four related but distinct processes: affect-reinforcement, similarity-attraction, self-disclosure, and hierarchical salience. These social processes are proposed to function in addition to (not in lieu of) the individual-level mechanisms the classical humor theories describe. The discussion, thus, culminates in a relational process model of humor, contributing a more fine-grained understanding of interpersonal humor to the organizational literature.

AB - A number of studies have demonstrated that humor can impact both horizontal and vertical relationships in organizations, but little is known about the interpersonal processes underlying this link. By integrating theory and research from the fields of philosophy, social psychology, communications, and leadership, it is possible to illuminate a combination of processes which, considered collectively, explain humor's ability to create, maintain, impede, or destroy relationships at work. I first review the classical theories of humor, which explain what motivates individuals to express humor and what determines humor enjoyment. However, since these frameworks focus on humor at the individual-level of analysis, they cannot speak to the social processes involved in a humor exchange. Research in the fields of social psychology, communications, and leadership provides insight regarding the remaining social mechanisms. In sum, it appears that interpersonal humor operates through four related but distinct processes: affect-reinforcement, similarity-attraction, self-disclosure, and hierarchical salience. These social processes are proposed to function in addition to (not in lieu of) the individual-level mechanisms the classical humor theories describe. The discussion, thus, culminates in a relational process model of humor, contributing a more fine-grained understanding of interpersonal humor to the organizational literature.

KW - Affect-reinforcement

KW - Communications

KW - Humor

KW - Self-disclosure

KW - Similarity-attraction

KW - Workplace relations

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=49249091023&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=49249091023&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/0018726708094861

DO - 10.1177/0018726708094861

M3 - Review article

VL - 61

SP - 1087

EP - 1115

JO - Human Relations

JF - Human Relations

SN - 0018-7267

IS - 8

ER -