[We are pleased to welcome Trish Reay, Editor-in-Chief of Organization Studies.]
Humor is an important aspect of most workplaces, and yet few researchers have delved into understanding how humor impacts the way people do their work. In the #OSEditorPicks for March We have to do this and that? You must be joking: Constructing and responding to paradox through humor an article appearing in Organization Studies’ soon to be released special issue on Paradox, Paula Jarzabkowski and Jane Lê show us how humor matters. As part of their ethnographic study of changes in a telecommunications firm, they noticed that people made a lot of jokes about paradoxical conditions. Intrigued with what people were laughing about and how humor seemed to be integral to practice, the authors engaged in a deep and insightful analysis of conversations that happened in 71 team meetings they observed over a 2 year time period. They found that humor was a critical component of responding to paradox – it contributed to both (1) entrenching responses and (2) shifting responses to paradoxical issues.
This is a great article because it raises attention to an important but commonly overlooked phenomenon of organizational life – humor. In addition, it provides a truly stellar example of what we can learn from studying how people do their everyday work. This is an important article for everyone who wants to learn more about micro-level interactions and how people matter in managing paradox.
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