The Indian Express ran an article headed; “ stabbing voodoo dolls of bosses boosts staff morale” reporting on some recent research.
Needless to say, it caught my attention !
Allowing employees to stab voodoo dolls of their boss could help them feel less resentful and improve the quality of their work, a study of 229 workers in US and Canada found.
The study found that engaging in ‘symbolic retaliation’ lowered feelings of injustice by one third.
Although the concept of revenge is often viewed negatively, the findings highlights the largely overlooked benefit of retaliation from the victim’s perspective.
“We found a simple and harmless symbolic act of retaliation can make people feel like they are getting even and restoring their sense of fairness”, said Lindie Liang, from the University in Ontario in Canada.
As a family and business mediator, trainer and coach, I can certainly see how and why this might work, bearing in mind some of the intense emotions involved in conflict resolution that need to be expressed in some way although I am not sure that I will be rushing to recommend this particular approach to my clients.
However, I will certainly be thinking about how I might use “the symbolic act of retaliation” approach in my work with some clients.