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Donut time: the use of humor across the police work environment

S. Marlon Gayadeen (Department of Criminal Justice, SUNY Buffalo State, Buffalo, New York, USA)
Scott W. Phillips (Department of Criminal Justice, SUNY Buffalo State, Buffalo, New York, USA)

Journal of Organizational Ethnography

ISSN: 2046-6749

Article publication date: 14 March 2016

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to examine ritualistic humor or joking that exists in a small, rural police department in Western New York.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected through participatory observations and interviews during the summer of 2014. Both authors worked in tandem to capitalize on individual expertise to maximize data collection and analyses.

Findings

Results suggest that humor is leveraged by officers to socialize, cope and demarcate authority. Depending on the circumstance, humor can be orchestrated or spontaneous, given the intentions of the officer.

Originality/value

Humor is an important lens through which to view police behavior. The current research underscores the importance of levity as a gauge of organizational and individual health.

Keywords

Citation

Gayadeen, S.M. and Phillips, S.W. (2016), "Donut time: the use of humor across the police work environment", Journal of Organizational Ethnography, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 44-59. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOE-06-2015-0016

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited