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Voodoo dolls, the Ig Nobel Prize and why headlines matter in academia

Here’s a voodoo-doll-rich, behind-the-scenes account what happened before and after a researcher (and her team) won an Ig Nobel Prize. Elsevier Connects reports:

Voodoo dolls in hand, the winning co-authors await their press interviews before the Ig Nobel ceremony at Harvard. Left to right: Prof. Lisa Keeping (Wilfrid Laurier University), Prof. Huiwen Lian (University of Kentucky), Prof. D. Lance Ferris (Michigan State University), Prof. Lindie Liang (Wilfrid Laurier University) and Prof. Douglas Brown (University of Waterloo). Not pictured: Samuel Hanig, a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo.

Voodoo dolls, the Ig Nobel Prize and why headlines matter in academia
How psychologist Dr. Lindie Liang captured the world’s attention with her research

By Lucy Goodchild van Hilten

Many researchers have a story about a time they were surprised: an unexpected finding, an accidental hack that improves an instrument, a collaborator they meet at a bar. It can be exhilarating or unnerving and almost always brings a lesson.

That was certainly the case for psychologist Dr. Lindie Liang, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior/Human Resources Management in the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics at Wilfrid Laurier Universityin Canada, when she published her paper on dysfunctional leadership and retaliation. Rejection followed rejection, which led to acceptance and publication, which resulted in interviews with journalists and international media coverage; before she knew it, she found herself on stage holding a voodoo doll, accepting the Ig Nobel Prize for Economics, in 2018….

The Prize-winning Research

The 2018 Ig Nobel Prize for economics was awarded to Lindie Hanyu Liang, Douglas Brown, Huiwen Lian, Samuel Hanig, D. Lance Ferris, and Lisa Keeping, for investigating whether it is effective for employees to use Voodoo dolls to retaliate against abusive bosses.

The team documented their research, in the study “Righting a Wrong: Retaliation on a Voodoo Doll Symbolizing an Abusive Supervisor Restores Justice,” Lindie Hanyu Liang, Douglas J. Brown, Huiwen Lian, Samuel Hanig, D. Lance Ferris, and Lisa M. Keeping, The Leadership Quarterly, February 2018.

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