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Gender and Humor in Workplace Meetings

One key characteristic of workers in any workplace is gender. Gender stereotypes, in combination with gender norms, impact many workplace interactions and how workers' performance is evaluated. Traditional stereotypes of women, such as being more nurturing and passive while men are more aggressive and dominant, are still reflected in our culture and the workplace in subtle and nonsubtle ways. In recent years there has been an increase in gender diversity in many workplaces, which changes the culture in work environments.

Meetings are often facilitated to share information, make decisions, discuss objectives and tasks, and socialize with other workers. When communicating with others, humor can make meetings more enjoyable. Researchers Hemshorn de Sanchez et al. (2022) can confirm that positive humor behavior positively predicted meeting satisfaction.

The method consisted of preexisting data from the Center for Meetings, including 26 published and unpublished studies to be reanalyzed for this study. The database included 662 participants. The data included information on the participants' general experiences with meetings, their latest meeting experience, individual differences, and work outcomes. Two studies measured perceived behaviors of affiliative humor in their last meeting. Affiliative humor is a tolerant use of humor that affirms self and others and enhances interpersonal relations. The data analysis was measured according to gender categories; male and female. Positive and interactive humor was measured with a nine-item scale. Meeting satisfaction was measured with a six-item scale.

Another interesting finding from this study suggested that positive humor behavior and meeting satisfaction were stronger for females than for male attendees. This means that females are more satisfied than males when a work meeting engages in positive humor because it enhances the employee’s relations with each other. This information is helpful because it can encourage meeting facilitators to avoid humor that reinforces negativity and separation between co-workers. Meeting satisfaction is an essential element in the workplace, and incorporating positive humor in work meetings could benefit the organization’s culture.

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