It is not only witches who should stab pins on the voodoo doll which represents the person they are punishing. Disgruntled workers could also do it on a voodoo doll that stands for their boss to help them feel less resentful.
The practice could also improve the quality of their work, a new study suggested, The Telegraph reported. Because of pressure from overbearing or abusive supervisors, more than 12 million Briton employees are forced to take time off annually due to the stress and anxiety in the workplace, according to Health and Safety Executive.
Venting their anger
Instead of brooding over the mistreatment they feel, Dr. Lindie Liang, an assistant professor at the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada, said the workers could vent their anger on the voodoo doll. She led a study of 229 American and Canadian workers and found that engaging in symbolic retaliation lowered the feelings of injustice by one third.
The research, published in The Leadership Quarterly, noted that while revenge is often negatively viewed, the study pointed out that there is a largely overlooked benefit of retaliation from the perspective of the victim. Liang admitted the idea of sticking needles into voodoo dolls sounds weird, but it is a simple and harmless symbolic act of retaliation that can make people feel like they are getting even and restoring their sense of fairness. She compared it to throwing darts at a photo of your boss.
For the study, the participants used an online voodoo doll program that Dumb.com created. The program allowed the users to name the doll after their manager and to stick it with pins, burn it with a candle, and pinch the doll with pliers.
Origins of the voodoo doll
The use of voodoo dolls is usually linked to Africa and the Americas in popular fiction. However, early records suggested that the practice started in the British medieval period. People then made rag fools or sculptures with witches, which they called poppets, and pierced the doll with pins to break an enchantment or cause harm. But the dolls were mistakenly linked later with Vodou or Afro-Caribbean Voodoo.
Liang said they conducted the research because previous studies suggested that workers who feel that they have been unfairly treated will exact revenge on their abuser. However, it can create a spiral of retaliation and counter-retaliation that could be detrimental to the organization in the long run.
She said that rather than see the disgruntled employees actually retaliating against their abusive boss, the mistreated workers could instead benefit from the harmless act of symbolic retaliation. The researchers asked the participants in the study to recall and visualize a workplace interaction that involved abuse from a supervisor. They asked some of the workers to retaliate by using a voodoo doll or to complete a task in which they had to fill in the blanks to complete words.
Members of the control group, studied by experts from the University of Waterloo, were asked to solve the word fragment challenges, Daily Mail reported. The researchers used the results of the word puzzles to assess perceptions of justice in the volunteers.
The New Orleans Voodoo is a mixture of cultural and spiritual beliefs systems strongly influenced by the ancient Voodoo religion of Africa. It was likewise influenced by the Vodou religion of Haiti, the healing arts of North American people, the folk magic of Europe, and Catholicism, Typepad reported.
Voodoo could be a simple way of looking at and dealing with life or can be considered a culture, heritage, philosophy, art, dance, language, medicine, music, justice, power, storytelling, and ritual. It has two sides because it can heal and destroy, is both good and bad, and is simple in concept and complex in practice.
It reflects the dual nature of the rattlesnake or certain species of spiders whose venom is toxic. But the poison is also needed to heal the same toxin.
The meaning of the word “voodoo” is “spirit of God.” People who believe in the power of the voodoo accept the existence of one god and powerful spirits below the god. For daily matters in life in the areas of family, love, money, happiness, wealth, and revenge, spirits are in control.
The practice of sticking pins in voodoo dolls has its roots in European folk magic, although its exact origins are not clear. It is also unknown how it became known as the method to curse an individual by some followers of the New Orleans Voodoo, a local variant of hoodoo. But the practice is not unique to New Orleans because it has much basis in magical devices in Europe such as the poppett and the nksi or bocio of west and central Africa.
Voodoo dolls can now be found almost anywhere and for any purpose today. Among these are novelty types like the George Bush Voodoo dolls to magical ones sold at mystical sites and shops.
[researchpaper 리서치페이퍼=Vittorio Hernandez 기자]