A study of humour use in primary school staff meetings

PhD Thesis

Smith, J. 2020. A study of humour use in primary school staff meetings. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University School of Humanities and Education Studies
AuthorsSmith, J.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDoctor of Education

At a time when there is enormous pressure on school leaders and staff to perform within the externally set accountability measures every aspect of leader and teacher behaviour has become subject to microscopic scrutiny. The development of leadership and research into effective behaviours has ensured that there is a significant amount of research into how school leaders can and should impact upon organisational culture. Missing from this research base is the role that humour plays in forming and reforming organisational cultural identity.
The role of the staff meeting as being a central part of the architecture of school life in which power is both enacted and enabled led to fourteen Primary School staff meetings being recorded digitally. The captured data was analysed using a typography based upon Martin’s (2003) Humour Styles Questionnaire. This typography was further developed to enable the categorisation of both the production and reception of humour within the staff meeting.
The data shows that humour is used in Primary School Staff meetings for a number of reasons: establishing a framework, conflict management, creating a safe place for contentious discussion, emotional release, reducing scrutiny and enabling topic control. In addition humour is shown as being an integral part of organisational culture and not something that should be studied separately. Understanding humour in individual schools is shown to be a complex relationship between leader, follower, context and authenticity. The production and reception of humour are shown to be equally influential in the development of organisational culture.
The paper concludes by proposing that school leaders and staff members should have regard to the way that humour use reveals the lived values of the school community.

KeywordsPrimary school staff meetings; Study of Humour
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Deposited22 Nov 2021
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