Frustrated workers could gain relief by stabbing voodoo dolls of their bosses, a disturbing new study has revealed.
The study published in The Leadership Quarterly journal noted that employees who receive abusive treatment from their bosses will naturally desire retaliation – something that often isn’t acceptable in a workplace.
How did they come to that conclusion?
Participants used an online voodoo doll program to name an effigy and then stick it with pins, pinch it or burn it.
They were asked to recall a negative workplace experience with their supervisor, with some asked to retaliate using the voodoo doll.
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All participants were then asked to complete a written task.
They found that the participants who had stuck pins in the voodoo dolls were less likely to be upset about the interaction and were also better at the task.
“These findings suggest that retaliation not only benefits individual victims, but may also benefit the organisation as a whole, given that justice perceptions is important for employee performance and well-being,” the report’s authors said.
Speaking to the Telegraph UK, assistant professor Dr Lindie Liang agreed the findings were “weird” but true.
“We found a simple and harmless symbolic act of retaliation can make people feel like they’re getting even and restoring their sense of fairness,” he said.
“It may not have to be a voodoo doll per se: theoretically anything that serves as a symbolic act of retaliation, like throwing darts at a picture of your boss, might work.”
She said that the symbolic revenge helps workers feel as though justice has been restored to the workplace.
The Voodoo religion was created in slave quarters in Louisiana and Haiti, with the word meaning spirits.
The religion aimed to connect spirits with mortals.
However, “poppets” or voodoo doll-like objects also existed in medieval England, and were thought to be useful for hurting, healing or casting spells over people.
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