Jokey team meetings are more productive, as long as people laugh along

Posted on February 21, 2015

Science suggests a funnier workplace should be a more effective one, encouraging positive mood and a playful, open approach. But much of the evidence to date rests on theoretical argument or lab experiments. Now a new study of genuine team meetings shows that laughter begets laughter and that bouts of humour really can clear the ground for new approaches and better performance.

Using videos taken as part of an improvement process run across two German companies, the study was able to determine the flow of interactions within real team meetings. Researchers Nale Lehmann-Willenbrock and Joseph Allen found laughter was likely to follow attempts at humour - although damp squibs were also possible - and that laughter could also trigger more jokes, effectively producing humour-laughter-humour chains. This tallies with past contributions to the field that suggest humour tends to stick around when introduced.

Moments after the laughter died down from a joke, teams were more likely to engage in productive, open behaviours, such as proposing new ideas, asking questions, or offering praise or encouraging participation by others. This fits with the broaden-and-build model of positive states, where a good mood opens us up to other people and different ideas - all useful in a collaborative context.

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Category(s):Happiness, Workplace Issues

Source material from British Psychological Society


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