Managing Humour

20 Pages Posted: 6 May 2003

See all articles by David L. Collinson

David L. Collinson

Lancaster University - Management School


This article examines the under-explored relationship between humour, power and management. Critically analysing the functionalist influence on workplace humour studies, it addresses the reproduction of humour through power relations and of management control through joking relations. In particular, the following argument considers how, in different social and organizational contexts, the management of humour is implemented through the practices of suppression and manufacture. The article concludes that, although apparently opposing, these two managerial control strategies in some cases may also overlap. Attempts to manufacture humour can actually suppress it, while the suppression of jocularity may also lead to its resurgence.

Suggested Citation

Collinson, David L., Managing Humour. Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 39, pp. 269-288, 2002. Available at SSRN:

David L. Collinson (Contact Author)

Lancaster University - Management School ( email )

Lancaster, LA1 4YX
United Kingdom

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