The use of humor for emotion management on the job: An exploration of 911 communication centers

Jennifer Dell McLaughlin

Abstract

This study sought to understand how humor affects a person's ability to cope and manage their emotions in a high stress organizational environment. 911 communication centers are work environments where stress is commonplace, and the work environment can instantly become erratic and chaotic. This study explored the role humor has in assisting organizational members with emotion management in a high stress job and the types of humor used by members to handle their job and cope with the stress. The results suggest that humor is pervasive in 911 communication centers, and dispatchers use humor for personal coping, co-worker bonding, and to change their work environment. Understanding how humor affects a person's ability to cope and manage their emotions in a high stress job provides researchers with information to expand communication research pertaining to organizational communication, humor, humor orientation, and perceived coping effectiveness.