Espoused and Enacted Values in Fraternal Organizations




Schwartz, Nancy

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This thesis investigated the differences between the enacted and espoused values of fraternities and sororities and examined how these differences are affected through a gendered lens and in the areas of ethical decision-making, risky behavior and cognitive development. The research explored how students’ perceived understanding of gender and ethical decision-making affected their ability to enact the espoused values of their organization. Using sociological and heuristic case study approaches, research revealed students’ experiences with espoused and enacted values, their attitudes around gender development and risky behavior in their community and how they felt it has affected their ability to make meaning and as well as ethical decisions. These attitudes were reflected in the themes of membership social standing and values. Findings from this study suggest a need for an experiential learning based new member process. This change in new member process would, based off of participant accounts, allow for a more in depth relationship to be formed between the organization’s values and the values of the individual member. Findings also suggested a need for an increase in members understanding of gender role conflict and organizational culture though universityfacilitated programs.



Fraternity, Sorority, Values, Espoused, Enacted