Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Higher Education Administration

Document Type



Hazing is a significant concern on college campuses, especially as students continue to die following hazing incidents in student organizations. Fraternities, particularly historically White fraternities (HWFs), have been the site of many recent hazing deaths. However, fraternity and sorority life leaders and advocates often argue that the chapters where hazing tragedies occur are the minority in a broader system that offers numerous contributions to society. Rather than a fraternity or sorority problem, hazing may result from cultural influences within and around the organization. Thus, the purpose of this study is to understand how organizational culture, such as chapter culture and institutional culture, relate to hazing among various HWF chapters.

This study employed an explanatory sequential mixed methods design, wherein I first distributed a survey to HWF members at a single institution in the quantitative phase of the study. Using a hypothetical conceptual model framed by Organizational Culture Theory and Pascarella’s (1985) General Model for Assessing Change, this study examined how students’ backgrounds, beliefs, and HWF chapter characteristics and culture contribute to experiences with hazing. The level of hazing experienced as new members negatively impacted members’ perceptions of their chapter culture, whereas chapter size had a positive impact. In addition, the chapter culture scales impacted members’ attitudes toward hazing differently. Chapter size and level of hazing experienced as new members both had positive relationships with member attitudes toward hazing.

After analyzing the survey responses using exploratory factor analysis (EFA), confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), and path analysis, I invited students to interview in the study's qualitative phase. Participants described their chapters as supportive environments but felt that the institution did not view HWFs positively. Additionally, participants discussed the effectiveness of hazing prevention policies and the state of the institution’s hazing culture following a student death due to hazing in 2017.

Following the analysis of the interviews, I integrated the findings of both phases to understand better how chapter culture and institutional culture contribute to hazing in HWFs. Finally, the study concludes with implications for theory and practice and recommendations for future research to continue hazing prevention efforts.



Committee Chair

Chen, Yu