Consultant Jokes about Managing Uncertainty: Coping by Humor

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Consultants and clients who experience difficulties in coping with challenges might start making coping jokes. This might happen, for example, when facing a challenge such as managing uncertainty. A content analysis of consultants' jokes reveals that both consultants and clients apply tactics to reduce, use, and increase uncertainty for each other. The humor in the jokes articulates the slightly immoral aspects of common tactics of coping with uncertainty. The article contributes to the literature on uncertainty by applying humor research to consultant-client interactions. It does so first by presenting an overview of consultant and client tactics to deal with uncertainty, and second by adding the perspective of relief theory, which has not been applied to consultant jokes before, as an analytical lens. © 2013 M.E. Sharpe, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-57
JournalInternational Studies of Management & Organization
Issue number3
Early online date27 Sept 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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