Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Okpala, Comfort

Abstract

While the exact roots are not accurately known, hazing has likely existed for countless generations. Intended to mentally and physically acclimate new members to organizations, this tactic usually backfires, as evidenced by the recent death of Robert Champion on November 19, 2011. There are many types of marching bands, but some of those in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) run a higher risk of hazing susceptibility than those of Predominately White Institutions (PWIs) due to their high-profile status, intense level of competitive spirit, and the intrinsic cultural need for bonding, loyalty, cohesion, brotherhood, and sisterhood. Understanding, addressing, and preventing this issue will not come through legal measures alone, as such attempts in the past have only driven members to adapt and resort to further subversion. This case study was conducted on the campus of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and centered on interview, focus group, observational, document review, and audiovisual material review data pertaining to the school’s marching band, the “Blue and Gold Marching Machine.” The findings support the claims that educators and administrators should a) understand the psychosocial (psychological and social) factors that are the root causes of hazing, b) address potential hazing climates by analyzing and shaping organizational culture while working to dispel long-standing negative ideologies, and c) preventing hazing cultures from forming by instilling leadership development, particularly in the servant-leadership style. This holistic course of action would prove to be more efficient and sustainable than past methods, many of which center only on regulations, punitive measures, and policies alone.

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