Humour and the integration of new staff in the workplace

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This study explores and illustrates the role of humour in integrating new staff in the workplace. Whilst numerous studies have focused on the role of humour in the workplace, humour in relation to integration appears to have received little attention to date. The particular focus of this study is on two aspects of humour and integration. Firstly, ways in which humour can help new staff to find their place in a new working culture and build solidarity with their new colleagues. Secondly, the role of humour is considered in defining boundaries with respect to new responsibilities and tasks. The interplay between politeness, power and solidarity is explored in analysing ways bosses use humour to seek a balance between solidarity and power, and how subordinates may use humour subversively to challenge their superiors. The study is qualitative in nature and the main analytical tool is discourse analysis. This allows fine-grained analysis of audio recorded interactions in meetings within two organisations based in the United Kingdom.


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