Research Finds Relationship Between Humor and Conflict Management Style

November 16, 2021by Elise Sanchez0

Summary of:

Pasupuleti. S., (2021). Humor styles and conflict management in IT professions. Indian Association of Health, Research and Welfare, 12(3), 278-281.

Background & Theory

Researchers were curious about the correlation between one’s humor style and their ability to resolve conflict. IT professionals from Hyderabad participated to find if this was true. In the profession of IT, conflict is more than likely to arise. While it is a popular profession that is sought out by many, with its fast-paced and competitive environment, disputes between co-workers are sure to arise. 

Research Question(s)

Subhashini Pasupuleti, the author of “Humor Styles and Conflict Management in IT Professions” sought out to ask the following question: 

    1. Can someone’s humor style predict their conflict resolution style?

Methods

For the research on this particular study, 100 IT professionals from the company Hyderabad were used. The age of these employees ranged from 25-40 years of age with a mean age of 36.4 years of age. In terms of experience in the role, 43 had less than five years of experience and 57 had more than five years. There were 17 women in the sample and 83 men, all of whom belonged to a socioeconomic range of either middle or higher class.

A Humor Style Questionnaire (HSQ) was utilized to measure the participants’ humor style. This questionnaire was a 32-item questionnaire which assessed the participant’s on four styles of humor: affiliative humor, self-enhancing humor, aggressive humor, and self-defeating humor. After this, the participants were given an Organizational Communication Conflict Questionnaire (OCCI) to better understand their conflict styles.

Results

After the research was conducted with the 100 IT participants, the results showed that there was a significant positive relationship between affiliative humor and solution oriented conflict styles. This positive relationship was also found between the self-enhancing humor style and solution oriented conflict styles. This research was conducted to highlight the importance of having a good temperament and humor for those in conflict who are in the IT industry. It is also important to highlight that more research with a larger sample size on the topic could be completed to know more on how humor styles contribute to productive conflict management in the workplace. 

What This Means

  • There is a correlation between good-intentioned humor and productive conflict resolution. 
  • Those who wish to form social bonds with others through humor or self-preserve also wish to resolve conflict effectively.

Final Takeaway

For consultants: Having a positive environment with people who are sociable and wanting to create personal bonds with people through humor are valuable members to have on teams. Humor can be used as a tool to de-escalate situations when done appropriately and can be utilized in workspaces to aid in driving social bonds. 

For everyone: Using humor as a tool to be personable with others can drive personal bonds. Having a good attitude and good will in humor can lead to better conflict resolution ability.

Elise Sanchez

Élise Sanchez is a double alumnus from Pepperdine University where she holds a Masters in Dispute Resolution from the Caruso School of Law and a Bachelors in both International Relations and French from Seaver College. During her time in her studies she found her passion for being an advocate for those who need help amplifying their voices. After finishing her International Relations degree, she decided to go on for her MDR to learn how to be a better advocate and peacekeeper.

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