Fooling Around: The Corporate Jester as an Effective Change Agent for Technological Innovation

  • Tom McMaster
  • David Wastell
  • Helle Zinner Henriksen
Conference paper

DOI: 10.1007/0-387-25590-7_8

Part of the IFIP International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 180)
Cite this paper as:
McMaster T., Wastell D., Henriksen H.Z. (2005) Fooling Around: The Corporate Jester as an Effective Change Agent for Technological Innovation. In: Baskerville R.L., Mathiassen L., Pries-Heje J., DeGross J.I. (eds) Business Agility and Information Technology Diffusion. TDIT 2005. IFIP International Federation for Information Processing, vol 180. Springer, Boston, MA


In this reflective paper, we examine the roles and attributes of the change agent in the context of the organisational innovation adoption process. Various skills and qualities are required and expected of such a role, however wit and humor are not among those qualities typically emphasized in the subject literature. Yet these may be essential ingredients in the successful management of change. We examine the role of humour in the workplace in particular, as an empowerment tool on one hand, and as a display of subversion on the other. We note that the traditional role and attributes of the court jester exude those very qualities that might be missing in traditional descriptions of the change agent: deep insight, wit, and the ability to exert strong influence through humor. We consider the notion of the corporate jester and discuss whether such a role may hold any merit for the process of change management.

Copyright information

© International Federation for Information Processing 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tom McMaster
    • 1
  • David Wastell
    • 2
  • Helle Zinner Henriksen
    • 3
  1. 1.University of SalfordSalfordUK
  2. 2.University of Manchester and Nottingham Business SchoolUK
  3. 3.Copenhagen Business SchoolCopenhagenDenmark

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