Beneath the surface of laughter

Practices of worker dissonance through humor in a high tech innovation R&D


  • Kristina Leppälä University of Eastern Finland
  • Hanna Lehtimäki University of Eastern Finland


Dissonance, betrayal, resistance, teamwork, practice theory, emotions


This at-home ethnographic research examined acts of resistive humor in a cross-functional medical device innovation team. The worker level participants reacted as a resistive, dissonance to a managerial initiative and its enactment. These acts of resistive humor are at the intersectionality of work, work life, and personal expression. These acts transfer learned student engineering humor (Finnish: teekkarihuumori) to the workplace. These actions of resistive humor were unannounced, meaning that they were created and removed acts of installation humor, temporary installations created by members of the cross-functional engineering team with the goal of humorous appreciation from the team. These artefacts of installation humor were spontaneous, non-managerially aligned, occurred during the workday, and were present on a temporary basis in the workplace


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5.3 Emotions within and between Organizations