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Sarcasm in the Workplace: What totally works and what doesn't

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"I enjoyed your two-hour presentation. It was as exciting as watching paint dry."

When used in the right way, sarcasm can benefit both the user and those on the receiving end. This in turn, inspires creativity in a work environment. Insights from a research by Assistant Professor Li Huang (INSEAD), Professor Francesca Gino (Harvard Business School) and Professor Adam Galinsky (Columbia Business School), and tips from an article by Professor Manfred Kets de Vries (INSEAD) shed some light on how to boost workplace creativity through “constructive” sarcasm.

Full articles by Li Huang and Manfred Kets de Vries published on INSEAD Knowledge.

Being Sarcastic Boosts Workplace Creativity
Li Huang, INSEAD Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour, with Benjamin Kessler, Web Editor | September 14, 2015
http://knowledge.insead.edu/leadership-organisations/being-sarcastic-boosts-workplace-creativity-4255

The Dark Side of a Funny Situation
Manfred Kets de Vries, INSEAD Distinguished Professor of Leadership Development & Organisational Change | June 2, 2015
http://knowledge.insead.edu/blog/insead-blog/the-dark-side-of-a-funny-situation-4071

FOR THE FULL STUDY:

The highest form of intelligence: Sarcasm increases creativity for both expressers and recipients
Li Huang, Francesca Gino, Adam D. Galinsky | Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes | Volume 131, November 2015, Pages 162–177 | Accessed online through ScienceDirect
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S074959781500076X

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Other References and Attributions:

Go ahead, be sarcastic
Christina Pazzanese, Harvard Staff Writer | Harvard Gazette | 24 July 2015
http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2015/07/go-ahead-be-sarcastic/

Satirical News Article:
Report: 70 Percent Of All Praise Sarcastic [Video]
The Onion | 30 April 2007
http://www.theonion.com/video/report-70-percent-of-all-praise-sarcastic-14134

Bill Murray “You’re Awesome” meme:
Memecrunch.net

Stock Photos on Slides 2 and 28:
iStock by Getty Images and New Regency 20th Century Fox launch unique series of classic corporate stock photos featuring the stars of ‘Unfinished Business’
Getty Images | 2 March 2015
http://press.gettyimages.com/istock-by-getty-images-and-20th-century-fox-launch-unique-series-of-classic-corporate-stock-photos-featuring-the-stars-of-unfinished-business/

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Sarcasm in the Workplace: What totally works and what doesn't

  1. 1. I N S E A D The Business chool for the or d“ SARCASM Q in the Workplace: What totally works 8: what doesn’t ‘ (Yeah right. .. )
  2. 2. ‘R i ‘X Are you fluent
  3. 3. If not, maybe you should be.
  4. 4. E MENU @i-the QN| °N"‘ Report: 70 Percent Of/ ll Praise Sarcastic l SEARCH Q 1u)>u: lE7;V! l_l| I|5. -V Report: 70 Percent Of All Praise Sarcastic VIDEO: NEWSROOM 7 " v '| * April 30, 2007 , ~ VOL 43 ISSUE 18 ‘ Science & Technology - Video , . ’ L V / l I ‘ t r s ~ I 5. / X , MORE FROM ONION, INC. i I 13-Year-Old Girl Can't Believe . if / - 1 , / I / *7 . How Immature Everyone Is '- -1 What’s Been Found In Hillary's _ ‘ _ . _._ . _ _ _, _._ Emails SoFar . ~nIm‘1. . l.lnL~4 r‘. -4'2h| L~l: £§. I : l;“i. L~’c‘i'l1-‘o V‘ ‘ill-ii(= ;u ‘ it: -* Glut’! -'1 11* 3 ~‘f1i'_ll‘l'-t= ,'I| &i, =:Y. 'I: i '. Ylfi= .]‘o): _{l‘(-‘ I: that r-nmnlimpnf I-pal nr nnt? A new rpnm-t to E vnn hnw tn nnw tlw rlitferenop
  5. 5. Sarcasm used in the right way, can spark creei. 'ive 'tl7’m; l:iiig in ) yourself, and even others. ’ . , V » « '‘"? ‘/ig. ; . , ~ :1¢L. i;_. l. “<’l3:{. :;ji 1*-~~ é§j: <"f¥ 7 . __I ft7ra(eri: I.-rIoi, féi. <€; ==Xe?3,s“-, T£: i,‘g’= ~:? ‘*7iZ€I_i. !tt}i1l: :tRa5§”3*flEfi3‘I vr f I, ‘;1lsiL= t’. :‘u£i; > {? f4u“, I””K°9.YtY1,Yt4¥°i. .i’_j; :I; l‘
  6. 6. Studies have shown that sarcasm can be harnessed for constructive purposes.
  7. 7. People in sarcastic environments actually performed more °/ creatively than those in environments.
  8. 8. WHY? INSEAD The Business School for the World"
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  10. 10. It's a catalyst for innovative thinking.
  11. 11. “This suspense is terrible. I hope it will last. ” — Oscar Wilde x -x-
  12. 12. But sarcasm when used inappropriately, can leave a bitter taste behind. GENUINE Q EYE I X OFNEWT ‘
  13. 13. How do we use sarcasm the right way? INSEAD usiness c oo for the World"
  14. 14. I r 2: PaS5‘’‘'o '2 an
  15. 15. When there is trust, sarcasm generates more sincerity than contempt among colleagues.
  16. 16. Tips for Mastering Sarcasm at Work INSEAD
  17. 17. Tip #1: Do NOT make others the butt of the joke.
  18. 18. I enjoyed your two—hour presentation. It was as exciting as watching paint dry. Thank y—what? A . . z / ' " 1- / ‘. “‘ ’ (7 I / / T’ W l .7 . ‘ ‘ H L ’ V ‘i i I . )1 I" 1.; I l, ll ‘ ‘ . l ilr —-. - X ' l
  19. 19. This is WRONG! I enjoyed your two—hour presentation. It was as exciting as watching paint dry.
  20. 20. Tip #2: Self-deprecating humor is more disarming and inclusive.
  21. 21. I have no idea what I'm doing!
  22. 22. I have no idea what I'm doing!
  23. 23. Tip #3: Administer tip #2 in moderation. Too much of it reflects low self-esteem and doubt.
  24. 24. Just kidding. ..
  25. 25. I know half of what I'm doing!
  26. 26. Organisations can benefit creatively from workplace sarcasm.
  27. 27. “Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but the highest form of intelligence. ” — Oscar X/ ilde
  28. 28. ,. _ , V ‘. ‘S II ‘1 I I ‘I I _ — 3.. ‘ x, _ _ I T V f I 1’ ii 5
  29. 29. But be nice!
  30. 30. References & Attributions: Being Sarcastic Boosts Workplace Creativity Li Huang, INSEAD Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour, with Benjamin Kessler, Web Editor I September 14, 2015 The Dark Side of a Funny Situation Manfred Kets de Vries, INSEAD Distinguished Professor of Leadership Development & Organisational Change | June 2,2015 Go ahead, be sarcastic Christina Pazzanese, Harvard Staff Writer I Harvard Gazette I 24 July 2015 INSEAD The Business School for the World”
  31. 31. References & Attributions: For the full study: The highest form of intelligence: Sarcasm increases creativity for both expressers and recipients Li Huang, Francesca Gino, Adam D. Galinsky | Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes I Volume 131, November 2015, Pages 162-177 Accessed online through ScienceDirect Satirical News Article: Report: 70 Percent Of All Praise Sarcastic [Video] The Onion I 30 April 2007 INSEAD The Business School for the World”
  32. 32. References & Attributions: Bill Murray “You're Awesome” meme: Memecrunch. net Stock Photos on Slides 2 and 28: istock by Getty Images and New Regency 20"‘ Century Fox launch unique series of classic corporate stock photos featuring the stars of ‘Unfinished Business’ Getty Images I 2 March 2015 INSEAD The Business School for the Worldt
  33. 33. The information used in this presentation is brought to you by INSEAD . I . I I . I , . I / . I , .I . I I I“ , V ’ / l . , l . / / I [M T ) ( T ’ ' , /l / ‘F I ‘F Fir Ti . r' . r’. r*. r' ' FW. INSEAD The Business School for the World‘
  34. 34. INSEAD The Business School for the Wor1d®
  35. 35. c 5;? fb. com/ INSEAD @| NSEAD I @| NSEADKnow| edge | inkedin. com/ company/ INSEAD youtube. com/ INSEAD / §ff“rI google. com/ +|NSEAD ‘; _o INSEAD The Business School for the World”

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