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Displaying group cohesiveness : humour and laughter in the public lectures of management gurus.

Greatbatch, D. and Clark, T. (2003) 'Displaying group cohesiveness : humour and laughter in the public lectures of management gurus.', Human relations., 56 (12). pp. 1515-1544.


As perhaps the highest profile group of management speakers in the world, so-called management gurus use their appearances on the international management lecture circuit todisseminate their ideas and to build their personal reputations with audiences of managers. This article examines the use of humour by management gurus during these public performances. Focusing on video recordings of lectures conducted by four leading management gurus (Tom Peters, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Peter Senge and Gary Hamel), the article explicates the verbal and nonverbal practices that the gurus use when they evoke audience laughter. These practices allow the gurus to project clear message completion points, to signal their humourous intent, to ‘invite’ audience laughter, and to manipulate the relationship between their use of humour and their core ideas and visions. The article concludes by suggesting that the ability of management gurus to use these practices effectively is significant because audience laughter can play an important role with respect to the expression of group cohesion and solidarity during their lectures.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Group cohesion, Humour and laughter, Management gurus, Management ideas, Public speaking.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:The final definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal Human relations, 56 (12), 2003. Copyright © 2003 The Tavistock Institute by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Human relations page:
Record Created:15 Oct 2008
Last Modified:31 May 2011 11:47

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