Last Updated 07 Sep 2020

Master of HRM

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The most important reason why employees take their work seriously is because traditional organizations do not allow people to have fun in the workplace. Traditional supervisors strongly believe that a serious working atmosphere can guarantee employees to be more productive. Managers act like police officers. They always tell their employees work at the job, play at your home and catch the employees who make jokes in the workplace. In these companies, employees are expected to go to work on time, be serious and put all their energy into their jobs to help companies make more money.

They should leave their humorous side for breaks and after-hour activities (Newstrom, 2002). In the opinion of Baughman (2001), another main reason why employees can not use humor in the workplace is because our traditional education suppresses our humor side. Firstly, as both humor and play can make people laugh, it is understandable that humor be seen as play. Employees have been taught by their teachers that they should not play while they are studying. When they join in the workforce, they still can not break away from this view that play is play; work is work.

They believe that work and humor should not go together. Secondly, schools also destroy people's ability to see things from different perspectives. Humor needs people to see things in a different way. Without this ability, people can not be humorous. Oech (cited in Baughman, 2001) gives a vivid example to prove that humorous side of employees has been destroyed. When his teacher put a half-inch dot on the blackboard and asked them what that was, most high-school students kept silent. Finally, one student answered that it was just a dot.

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Then, his teacher explained that the same exercise had been done in a kindergarten one day before. He got 50 interesting answers which were a cigar butt, an owl's eye, a star, and so on. Employees take themselves very seriously in the offices is not because they do not want to have fun; is because the humorous side of employees is suppressed by the organization and education. Therefore, humor is very easy to be injected in the workplace by managers. Managers can educate their employees that humor and work can go together, and encourage their employees to use humor in the workplace.

If humor can be encouraged in the workplace, employees will be very happy to accept it. In conclusion, humor should not be prohibited in the workplace; conversely, it should be instilled in there. People take themselves too seriously in the workplace, because their humorous side has been suppressed. As infusing humor in the workplace can bring both employees and organizations a lot of benefits, managers should encourage employees to express their humor in the workplace.

List of references

  1. Baughman, Wayne E. (2001), "Making work fun-doing business with a sense of humor", Hospital Materiel Management Quarterly, Vol.22, Issue 3, pp.79-83, ( [Accessed: 30 May 2004]
  2. Belker, Loren B. (1997), "A sense of humor: a trusted friend", The First-Time Manager, (4th edn), AMACOM, New York
  3. Braverman, Terry; Petrini, Catherine. (1993), "Enhance Your Sense of Self-Mirth", Training & Development, Vol. 47 Issue 7, pp.9-11, (, [Accessed: 4 June 2004]
  4. Buxman, Karyn (2001), "You can't Be Serious", T+D, Vol. 55 Issue 7, pp.65-66, (, [Accessed: 4 June 2004]
  5. Crain, Sharon. (1995), "Building dynamic relationships", Journal of Property Management, Vol. 60 Issue 4, pp.8-9, ( [Accessed: 5 June 2004]
  6. Ford, Robert C. & McLaughlin, Frank S. & Newstrom, John W. (2003), "Questions and answers about fun at work" Human Resource Planning, Vol. 26 Iss. 4, pp.18-33, ( [Accessed: 27 May 2004]

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