Humor in The Office Is a Funny Thing to Assess

Watching the clip above, featuring David Brent (a.k.a. Ricky Gervais) formerly the manager of The Office (UK original series), you might ask yourself the question ‘Is management humor an asset or liability?’

Not such an easy question to answer – in fact, a recent academic paper on the subject, Management humor : asset or liability? (Organizational Psychology Review, November 2011 vol. 1 no. 4 pp. 316-338 ) which is based around analyses of the communication process and models of cognitive and affective processing dynamics in social cognitive theory, took no less than 22 pages of in-depth examination to reach a conclusion. One which the authors save for the very last paragraph – some might even say in the form of a ‘punchline’.

“We conclude that humor can be either an asset or a liability for a manager.“

adding :

“This is one of the many features of humor in organizations that makes it worthy of further study.”