In the present generation, the workplace environment has changed greatly especially as regards the laws set in place to govern employee behaviour and relations. As opposed in the past, the law has been relaxed from the ideal situation that had eaten much into the personality of individuals to a more flexible and efficient working environment. This is evident from the way organizations have lately embraced the social and human aspects of their employees. As concerns human capital, the diversity in character, intelligence and behaviour of humans is now being appreciated as a factor that gives the organization a competitive advantage and a better placement in the society Kinicki, Kreitner in Kristovics; 2011). On the other end, social capital is a result of the affiliations that have been developed and exist between various individuals of an organization. The fruits that such relations and the level of trust among employees bring forth and the contribution this makes towards a social responsibility and cooperation is significant. In as much as this may be a bit hard to quantify, social responsibility plays a crucial role in creation of a business environment that enjoys stability (Kinicki, Kreitner in Kristovics; 2011). There are so many reasons as to why focus should be given to humour. Huang, Kuo (2010) indicates that impacts organizations in so many ways and when applied rightly acts as a reliable channel of communication. It also plays an important role in eliminating fear and tension amongst colleagues.
A study of the diverse forms of humour, personality and emotional intelligence and their influence, both in the positive and negative dimensions, reveals that management of humour and the importance of such an action can change the face of the organization for the better.
In his research, Huang, Kuo (2010) proposes the significance of humour in ensuring a motivating and conducive environment for workers, hence a significant increase in productivity and efficiency. However, he further says that this is only possible in cases where the humour comes along with high levels of discipline. A Norrick, Spitz; 2010 in Huang, Kuo; 2010 definition describes humour as being situation specific hence an aspect that can only be interpreted within the confines of the group in which it occurred. Through workplace interaction, Huang, Kuo (2010) singles out humour as key in developing unified groups out of diverse individuals. There are four dimensions towards gaining an expansive understanding of humour; Affiliative humour (AF), self-enhancing humour (SE), aggressive humour (AG), and self-defeating humour (SD).
Research on humour related studies shows a significant chain of links between ‘humour and emotional intelligence (EI) through regular social interactions’ (Lopes et al; 2004 in Yip, Martin; 2006). Through the development of the Humour Styles Questionnaire (HSQ), the four dimensions of humour are taken into consideration and assessed with everyday life functions of humour and aspects of EI.
Affiliative humour (AF) is associated with people who are bold enough to articulate ‘funny things, tell jokes, or engage in activities to amuse others’ (Martin, Puhlik-Doris et al, 2003). This form of humour paves way for building relationships and eliminates tension between people. From previous studies AF is said to be positively related to extraversion (E), self esteem and relationship satisfaction. Thus, Hypothesis 1 is:
Hypothesis 1: A likelihood of a positive correlation between affiliative humour and extraversion.
Self-enhancing humour (SE) shows a ‘humorous viewpoint on life, a far above the ground predisposition to be pleased by the incongruities of life, and sustain a humorous attitude that overcome stress’ (Martin, Puhlik-Doris et al, 2003). SE utilises humour from the perspective of internal psychological processes, indicating that it is not probable to be affiliated to extraversion (EX). Further still, Martin, Puhlik-Doris et al (2003) spots the SE dimension to be negatively related to neuroticism (N), and positively related to openness (OP) and self-esteem emotions. Therefore, Hypothesis 2 includes:
Hypothesis 2: Does a negative correlation exist between self-enhancing humour and neuroticism between both males and females?
Does a positive correlation exist between self-enhancing humour and openness or any kind of emotional dimension?
Aggressive humour (AG) is represented by ‘use of sarcasm, teasing, ridicule, derision, ‘‘put-down,’’ or disparagement humour’ (Zillman, 1983 in Martin, Puhlik-Doris et al, 2003). AG is often regarded as humour that is uttered with no look upon its probable impacts or influence on others. It is through this that Martin, Puhlik-Doris et al (2003), positively relates AG with neuroticism (N) and negatively relates AG to agreeableness (A) and conscientiousness (C). Thus, Hypothesis 3 in noted as:
Hypothesis 3: A likelihood of a negative correlation with aggressive humour and agreeableness and conscientiousness between both males and females?
The ultimate dimension of humour is self-defeating humour (SD), which involves self-disparaging humour at one’s own cost as a form of gaining consent. Martin, Puhlik-Doris et al (2003), assumes SD is positively related to neuroticism (N), therefore negatively related towards self-esteem and psychological well-being. Consequently, hypothesis 4 will be:
Hypothesis 4: Does a positive correlation exist between self-defeating humour and neuroticism between both males and females?
2010, Kai-Ping Huang, Wen-Ching Kuo, Does Humour Matte? From Organization Management Perspective, School of Management, University of Technology, pp. 141-144
2006, Jeremy A. Yip, Rod A. Martin, Sense of humor, emotional intelligence, and social competence, Journal of Research in Personality 40, University of Western Ontario, Canada, pp. 1202-1207
2003, Rod A. Martin, Patricia Puhlik-Doris, Gwen Larsen, Jeanette Gray, and Kelly Weir, Individual differences in uses of humor and their relation to psychological well-being: Development of the Humor Styles Questionnaire, Journal of Research in Personality, University of Western Ontario, Canada, pp. 49-74
Needed: People-Cantered Managers and Workplaces: Chapter 1 from organisational behaviour: Key Concepts, Skills, and Best Practices, Fourth edition by Kinicki, Kreitner, and pp. 7-15