London, May 21 (ANI): While men are likely to get a chorus of laughs if they make a joke in the boardroom, a woman doing the same has more chance of being met with an awkward silence, a new study has claimed.
According to research, women's attempts at humour are often seen as "contrived, defensive or just mean".
Linguistics expert Judith Baxter undertook an 18-month study into speech patterns at business meetings, including at two companies in the FTSE 100.
She found that while 90 percent of jokes made by businessmen triggered an outburst of laughter, at least 80 percent made by their female counterparts resulted in silence.
Unsurprisingly, given the findings, men are three times more likely to use humour when leading a meeting.
Part of the problem may well lie in the way women use humour, says Baxter, a senior lecturer at Aston University in Birmingham.
"One type of humour women leaders do use more than men is self-deprecating humour," the Daily Mail quoted Baxter as saying.
"Women would rather laugh at themselves on the whole than laugh at others because it is the safe option.
"But self-deprecation doesn't display authority. And although you are allowed to joke about yourself, others... may well feel uncomfortable laughing at their boss's expense.
"My research has shown that male managers use humour to demonstrate and display their leadership of a team.
"But it's still not culturally acceptable for women to do the wisecracking. Women are meant to be the support audience rather than the ones doing the entertaining.
"It is not that women are less funny: they tend to use humour differently. They are more comfortable with using humour in pairs with a friend and less as a means to manage people.
"When they do, their humour can appear arch, contrived, defensive or occasionally, just mean," she added. (ANI)