RAE-Revista de Administração de Empresas (Journal of Business Management), vol. 59, n. 2, March-April 2019

Editorial: 

Translated version

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-759020190201

 

HUMOR IN THE ACADEMIA AND RESEARCH ON HUMOR

 

We started the editorial of the previous edition—the first of the year—with a brief joke and were confronted by some colleagues as if we had committed heresy: “What is this in an editorial?” Well, perhaps it was not a good joke, but the question was great and calls for reflection. Does the academia necessarily need to be bland and colorless? Cannot humor be part of researchers’ lives? Do we need to be stern and monotonous? To me, this view seems to disregard studies that evidence the role of humor in increasing creativity, well-being, and health as well as producing better results in organizations (Mesmer-Magnus, Glew, & Viswesvaran, 2012). Humor is embedded in work processes (Korczynski, 2011) and is a fundamental element in the development of human relationships. Humor facilitates work (Rodrigues & Collinson, 1995), as the seminal article on humor in the area of organizational studies, written by the Brazilian researcher Suzana Braga Rodrigues, states. Humor is important for individuals, organizations, and the society (Duarte & Duarte, 2016). There is even a journal focused exclusively on humor: The European Journal of Humour Research. Reinforcing the positive role of this human trait for work, the articles by Romero and Cruthirds (2006), considering the international context, and Castro Silva and Brito (2014), considering the Brazilian context, show that humor has a positive impact on communication, group cohesion, and leadership. Humor is part of the organizational discourse (Koester, 2010) and workspace (Chefneux, 2015; Vivona, 2014). In summary, the role of humor in sociability at work seems to be fundamental for the proper functioning of organizations.

 

However, humor is not just a positive aspect of human behavior. It may carry cynicism, sexism, and aggressiveness. It may also be the first step toward bullying and several prejudices that surround humans, the most common being related to race, ethnicity, gender, and age (Irigaray, Saraiva, & Carrieri, 2010; Korczynski, 2011; Westwood & Johnston, 2012; Wood & Caldas, 2005). Humor is a form of resistance that may lead to sabotage (Alcadipani, Hassard, & Islam, 2018; Medeiros & Alcadipani, 2016) and, sometimes, is the only way to demonstrate dissatisfaction at work (Rodrigues & Collinson, 1995). It is also a way to express forms of control (Huber & Brown, 2017) that may cause laughter (Valadão, Medeiros, & Teixeira, 2017). Because of new technologies, humor can take other forms on the internet, leading to new strategies to criticize organizational processes (Furtado, Carrieri, & Bretas, 2014).

 

Humor permeates the world of work and organizations (Westwood & Rhodes, 2007) as well as various spheres of life. However, what type of organization does not allow humor in the 21st century? Total institutions, as Goffman (1974) has shown us in Manicômios, prisões e conventos (Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates?) Humor may be appropriate or inappropriate (Huber & Brown, 2017; Vivona, 2014). Besides assessing humor, we may ask ourselves what the absence of humor means. It is worth researching this to understand the role of humor in academia.

 

This edition includes four articles: “The missing link between the high performance work practices and the perception organizational politics,” by Adnan Riaz, Saima Batool, and Mohd Shamsuri Md Saad; “Relationship between innovation and performance: Impact of competitive intensity and the organizational slack,” by Diego Armando Marín-Idárraga and Juan Carlos Cuartas-Marín; “ Social and family life impact of shift work from the perspective of family members,” by Daniela Costa and Isabel Soares Silva; and, finally, “Structural cartography for literature review: Revealing the underlying structure of a literature though a bibliographic atlas,” by Joaquim Heck and Ion Georgiou. The Perspectives section includes two texts relevant to the area of logistics and operations: “Ambidestria and coevolution in operations: Integrating theory and practice” and “The creativity dilemma,” by Ely Laureano Paiva and Elena Revilla, respectively. In the Review section, Luiz Alex Silva Saraiva, in “From the Agreste to the world,” presents his point of view on the work Filhos das feiras: Uma composição do campo de negócios agreste (Children of the fairs: A composition of the business field of the Agreste) by Márcio Sá.

 

Enjoy reading!

Maria José Tonelli1 | ORCID: 0000-0002-6585-1493

Felipe Zambaldi1 | ORCID: 0000-0002-5378-6444

1Fundação Getulio Vargas Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brasil

 

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