Light Humor in the Workplace Is a Good Thing, Says MU Business Professor

<p><strong>Columbia, Mo. &mdash; Nov. 5</strong><br />It is commonly believed that kidding around at work isn&rsquo;t a good thing. Well, it is, says a University of Missouri-Columbia researcher, who has examined how workplace humor affects the working environment.<br /><br />Chris Robert, assistant professor of management in MU&rsquo;s Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business, said that humor &mdash; particularly joking around about things associated with the job &mdash; actually has a positive impact in the workplace. Occasional humor among colleagues, he said, enhances creativity, department cohesiveness and overall performance. The conclusion was made by examining theories on humor and integrating literature from a wide variety of disciplines that touch on the subject. Several hundred sources were analyzed by Robert and collaborator Wan Yan, a business doctoral student, who have attempted to bring together literature from numerous disciplines to make the case that humor is serious business.<br /><br />&ldquo;Humor has a significant impact in organizations,&rdquo; said Robert, who also teaches psychology in MU&rsquo;s College of Arts and Science. &ldquo;Humor isn&rsquo;t incompatible with goals of the workplace. It&rsquo;s not incompatible with the organization&rsquo;s desire to be competitive. In fact, we argue that humor is pretty important. It&rsquo;s not just clowning around and having fun; it has meaningful impact on cohesiveness in the workplace and communication quality among workers. The ability to appreciate humor, the ability to laugh and make other people laugh actually has physiological effects on the body that cause people to become more bonded.&rdquo;<br /><br />In their theoretical paper, Robert and…


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