How burning a voodoo doll of your boss makes you a better employee

How burning a voodoo doll of your boss makes you a better employee

CultureJuly 11, 2018 By Jahla Seppanen

Imagine your terrible boss walks into the weekly staff meeting and gives everyone a voodoo doll in their likeness, accompanied by a set of needle pins, a lighter, and pliers and says have at it!

Well, science says if you want to feel better and do better at work you should go Hannibal Lecter on its ass.

Research published in the February 1, 2018 edition of "The Leadership Quarterly" suggests this bizarre practice is the trick to better, happier employees, evening the perceived power dynamics of a tense relationship between supervisor and subordinate ... especially if the supervisor’s actions are often perceived as “abusive treatment,” the study explains.

What exactly does mauling a voodoo doll do for an employee?

It creates a cathartic release that allows for the sensation of retaliation.

“Although retaliation is dysfunctional and should be discouraged, we examine the potential functional role retaliation plays in terms of alleviating the negative consequences of abusive supervision on subordinate justice perceptions,” says the study. This method was based on the notion that retaliation following mistreatment can restore justice for victims. And yes, bosses can often feel like evil dictators so why not apply the equation to an office setting.

Even more bizarre: it works.


[What's $30 in exchange for supreme tranquility? via MyVoodooDoll]

The symbolic witchdoctor retaliation used in the study proved effective after 229 American and Canadian employees were allowed to stick, burn, and pinch with pliers an online voodoo doll created by Dumb.com and named after their employer. Former sentiments of injustice were lowered for a third of participants, who also expressed feeling less likely to hold on to bitter emotions.  

Double bizarre, employees performed better on cognitive tests after going voodoo-hoodoo on their employer dolls. (As if human nature didn’t scare you before.)

By releasing anger and frustration (aka retaliation) via a harmless method like voodoo dolls, employees were able to keep moving through their tasks without holding on to a sense of injustice and frustration. Lead author Lindie Liang of the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario also concluded “that retaliation not only benefits individual victims, but may also benefit the organization as a whole, given that justice perceptions is important for employee performance and well-being.” Liang has an extensive background in exploring workplace dynamics, the role of abusive supervisor, and conflict resolutions.

While you can practice this method by ordering a custom voodoo doll on the craft website Etsy, it may not settle well if you have an actual, physical doll of your boss sitting on your cute desk cactus. (Just us looking out for your future.)

Instead, here’s Dumb.com’s virtual voodoo doll to “torture someone you hate!” If you’re gasping and claiming ‘I’d never do such a thing!’ get real, yes you would. And according to science, you should.

… we’re suddenly looking forward to work on Mondays.

[originally published March 14, 2018]