It is commonly believed that kidding around at work isn’t a good thing. Well, it is, says a University of Missouri-Columbia researcher, who has examined how workplace humor affects the working environment. Chris Robert, assistant professor of management in MU’s Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business, said that humor – particularly joking around about things associated with the job – 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. “Humor has a significant impact in organizations,” said Robert, who also teaches psychology in MU’s College of Arts and Science.
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