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Belief, Truth, and Positive Organizational Deviance

48 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2011 Last revised: 1 Aug 2017

Gregory Scott Parks

Wake Forest University - School of Law

Shayne E. Jones

University of South Florida

Matthew W. Hughey

University of Connecticut, Department of Sociology

Date Written: October 7, 2011


Black Greek-Letter Organizations (BGLOs) are unique institutions. Though few in number, they claim some of this country’s most renowned African American leaders – e.g., Charles Hamilton Houston (architect of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s Brown v. Board strategy), Rosa Parks (mother of the Civil Rights Movement), Earl B. Dickerson (civil rights lawyer and first black University of Chicago Law School graduate), Sadie Alexander (first African American woman to earn a PhD, and first to earn a JD from the University of Pennsylvania), and William Hastie (first African American federal judge). Uniquely, BGLOs’ members tend to remain deeply committed to their organizations over a life-course. Even more, BGLOs tend to initiate large numbers of members into highly functioning alumni chapters. One thing that is most striking about BGLOs, however, is a particularly violent brand of hazing employed to initiate their new members. While there have been reforms within BGLOs to curtail hazing injuries, deaths, and legal wrangling (both civil and criminal), violent hazing within them persists. A host of reasons may explain why law fails to constrain legally consequential behavior within organizations like BGLOs. This article seeks to empirically ascertain (1) what beliefs may undergird BGLO hazing and (2) the extent to which beliefs about the utility of hazing as a means to actualize the essential ingredients of BGLO existence (i.e., commitment to the organization, its ideals, and members) are well-founded. We close by reconciling the tension between these findings and how law attempts to constrain behavior.

Keywords: Race, Organizational Behavior, Social Psychology, Empirical Legal Studies

Suggested Citation

Parks, Gregory Scott and Jones, Shayne E. and Hughey, Matthew W., Belief, Truth, and Positive Organizational Deviance (October 7, 2011). Howard Law Journal, 2013; Wake Forest Univ. Legal Studies Paper No. 1940731. Available at SSRN: or

Gregory Parks (Contact Author)

Wake Forest University - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 7206
Winston-Salem, NC 27109
United States
3367582170 (Phone)

Shayne Jones

University of South Florida

Tampa, FL 33620
United States

Matthew Hughey

University of Connecticut, Department of Sociology ( email )

Unit 2068
344 Mansfield Road
Storrs, CT 06269-2-68
United States
860.486.4422 (Phone)
860.486.6356 (Fax)


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