“It only hurts when I laugh”: Cover Image

“It only hurts when I laugh”:
“It only hurts when I laugh”:

tolerating bullying humour in order to belong at work

Author(s): Barbara Plester, Tim Bentley, Emily Brewer
Subject(s): Social Sciences, Language and Literature Studies, Psychology, Applied Linguistics, Communication studies, Sociology, Sociolinguistics, Social psychology and group interaction, Organizational Psychology, Behaviorism, Identity of Collectives
Published by: Krakowskie Towarzystwo Popularyzowania Wiedzy o Komunikacji Językowej Tertium
Keywords: bullying; dark side; organisation; belonging; joking

Summary/Abstract: Our study examines the impacts on workers when organisational humour is repeated,sustained, dominating, and potentially harmful, and thus can be considered to be bullying. Inan ethnographic study of an idiosyncratic New Zealand IT company, we observed humour thatwas sexualised, dominating, and perpetrated by the most powerful organizational members.We argue that the compelling need for belonging in this extreme organizational cultureinfluenced workers to accept bullying humour as just a joke and therefore acceptable andharmless even when it contravened societal workplace norms. Our contribution is inidentifying and extending the significant theoretical relationship between workplace humourand bullying that, to date, is not well-explored in organizational research.

  • Issue Year: 10/2022
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 116-134
  • Page Count: 19
  • Language: English