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Abstract

Leadership is primarily a communicative activity, and humour provides leaders with a
valuable communicative resource for reconciling the competing transactional and
relational demands which face them. This article examines the ways in which
Māori leaders use humour in everyday workplace interaction, and focuses in
particular on the use of humour to construct leadership in workplaces characterized
by Māori values and ways of doing things. Humour is used to construct and
enact many different types of relationships in the workplace, and to express many
different layers of meaning. Drawing on data collected in Māori
workplaces, this article examines the particular ways in which people in such
workplaces make use of humour as a discursive resource for constructing themselves
and others as workplace leaders, and explores, in particular, the hypothesis that
humour provides a flexible indirect strategy for constructing leadership in ways
that avoid conflict with traditional Māori cultural values.

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Humour and the Construction of Maori Leadership at Work