Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Humour and laughter in meetings: influence, decision-making and the emergence of leadership
Author(s): Watson, Cate
Drew, Valerie
Contact Email:
Keywords: Communicative constitution of organization (CCO)
humorous discourse
play frame
relational leadership
strategic accomplishment
Issue Date: Jun-2017
Citation: Watson C & Drew V (2017) Humour and laughter in meetings: influence, decision-making and the emergence of leadership, Discourse and Communication, 11 (3), pp. 314-329.
Abstract: Recent constructions view leadership as a process of social influence which coordinates processes of change. Moreover, such processes are not necessarily linked to role hierarchy but may be emergent and distributed within teams. However, the micro-processes through which this occurs are not well understood. The significance of the paper lies in its contribution to an understanding of the emergence of leadership in teams, and in particular how humour and laughter are drawn on as a resource by which to exert social influence. Here, we use the construct of the play frame, ‘non serious’ talk in which participants jointly construct extended humorous sequences as improvisations, to analyse how team members manoeuvre in order to accomplish influence, decision-making and leadership. In taking this approach we are not concerned with considerations of how managers use jokes to exercise control, or workers use humour to subvert management. Rather, we examine how humour, and particularly the laughter it engenders, can contribute to an understanding of organizations as centred on communication and founded on the precept that organizations are ‘talked into being’. Here we show how talk in a play frame institutes a context which can be utilised by participants to exert influence and we demonstrate the highly contingent and contextual nature of the emergence of leadership within teams.
DOI Link:
Rights: Publisher policy allows this work to be made available in this repository upon acceptance. To be published in Discourse and Communication by SAGE. The original publication will be available at:

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
RevisedDiscourse.pdf378.67 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.