Hazing is, some people may think, a rite of passage newcomer’s face. Be it a new sorority sister, fraternity brother, team mate, class mate, etc., there is a long history of hazing in regards to each. Some organizations, as you may know, center their entire membership on hazing. Some feel hazing is an important exercise in team building, future participation of its members, or organizational loyalty and buy-in, but does it work?
We have all seen the headlines of instances of hazing run a foul, especially in a college setting. The fact individuals have died in the course of being hazed shows just how dangerous the act can be. One of the more common ways a person is hazed is through the consumption of massive amounts of alcohol. Others have even suffered massive trauma and their deaths have been ruled as a homicide. Such activates should have all participants step back for a moment and ask themselves, “Is my future worth all of this?”
Hazing, simply put, is a tradition masking as a “team-building” exercise. Honestly, if making newcomers drink alcohol and go cow-tipping actually worked, fortune 500 companies would be employing such tactics on a weekly basis. Hazing creates animosity and/or hatred among individuals. It encourages risky behavior among its participants. It is meant to demean and embarrass those which have not yet obtained some arbitrary status. These ritualistic activates deemed “hazing” are simply a form of bullying.
Individuals, in defense of hazing practices, call the tactics essential in determining who will make the best members, most reliable, or otherwise worth-while team players. These individuals, especially those in colleges, will also say the military employs the same practices. It is true, hazing does occur in the military. However, if one is found to be doing as such, they may face criminal charges. Sure, the military machine yells at new recruits, makes them wash dishes and peel potatoes. Is this on the same par as making them drink alcohol, endure baths of freezing or boiling water, sexual or physical humiliation, or other such antics? Also, and on a similar note, is the college experience so brutal that “battle buddies” are needed to face the day-to-day rigors one may experience on a battle field? Obviously not, yet hazing continues, both in secret and in the open.
Creating a bond of trust cannot be found in hazing practices. Trust grows from mutual respect and understanding among individuals. Hazing does not work because, for the most part, hazing has turned into a ritual of bullies imposing their “traditions”. Hazing is a way for a person to say: “I was hazed; now I get to do the hazing.” If hazing actually worked there would be studies exploring its usefulness. There would be companies which advise on all matters of hazing. There would be social experts hired to create more forms of it. As it is, hazing is an ineffective method of “team-building”. It is also banned on most college campuses, the military, and by corporations. If you decide your organization cannot live without hazing, be warned, you are playing with fire.”