Just a joke? The pleasure and pain of workplace humour & fun

From covering the boss’ office in toilet paper, to a singing sock called Barry, Barbara will delve into workplace humour like you’ve never heard before. Humour in the office can be tricky to navigate, with complex dimensions arising when jokers, managers, line workers and CEOs interact and laugh together. 

Barbara’s enthusiastic talk will draw on her research of workplace humour from genuine experiences inside New Zealand companies where people laughed, cried, yelled in anger and reacted to a variety of acceptable and unacceptable humour. Some humour was inclusive, some was weird, and some was even dangerous. Come along on this fascinating expedition about humour and find out how easily fun can turn foul.


Dr Barbara Plester is a senior lecturer in the Department of Management and International Business at the University of Auckland. Her research explores the relationship between humour and organisational culture and she has extensive research projects investigating organisational humour, fun and play. Barbara is the Faculty Equity Committee Chair and serves on the University education committee. Her current research project examines when fun turns foul and explores sexual harassment, bullying and toxic outcomes that can occur at ‘fun’ work events. Barbara tries to be cheerful, friendly, enthusiastic and optimistic to maintain her own happiness and wellbeing.  

8:00pm @Little Creatures Summer Pop Up, 16 Fort Street Auckland 1010

Also speaking at this location at 6:30pm is Claire Charters.