Intergroup Dynamics - Alpha

Intergroup Dynamics - Alpha - ALPHA PHI ALPHA 1 Alpha Phi...

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ALPHA PHI ALPHA 1 Alpha Phi Alpha: Division Amongst the Ranks Terrance McKnight Teachers College – Columbia University
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ALPHA PHI ALPHA 2 Alpha Phi Alpha: Division Amongst the Ranks The author of this paper is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. He joined the organization during his undergraduate years of college. The pledge class that he was a part of, the Nu Amenians of Merenptah’s Revolution (Amenians), joined the organization during the Spring 2005 semester; this class was preceded one semester before by another pledge class, the Nu Akerites of the Zehutian Renaissance (Akerites). These pledge classes had sixteen and fourteen members, respectively. Before these two pledge classes were inducted, membership in the fraternity was low. Many of the members that were in the fraternity before and that inducted these pledge classes graduated during the same school year. Thus, upon entering the 2005-2006 school year, all of the members of the fraternity were a part of either the Akerite or Amenian pledge class. Group dynamics between these two entities during the aforementioned school year will be examined further. Individual pledge class members formed as a group during their respective membership intake processes; this was due to their interdependency with each other, and their identification as being a separate group from prior pledge classes. This identification came from both in-group and out-group members. The campus population, while aware of separate pledge classes, viewed each individual fraternity member on equal footing. Each member’s perceived social and academic identity was associated with the fraternity as a whole. Thus, each member had an equal responsibility for representing the fraternity in the highest light externally. The fraternity was a group-as-a-whole embedded within the social fabric of the campus. There was a saying that the fraternity used that embodied this: “Without FAMU (Florida A&M University), there would be no Beta Nu (the name of the fraternity chapter); without Beta Nu, there would be no FAMU. The former can be explained simply because without a college
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ALPHA PHI ALPHA 3 campus, a college fraternal organization cannot exist. The latter has historical implications; for example, the president of the university during the tenure of the author was a member of the fraternity. Each individual of the fraternity, irrespective of pledge class, was an African-American male attending the same university, and ranging in age from 19 to 22. Therefore, each member shared the same identity groups; identity groups are defined as groups whose members share some common biological characteristic, have participated in equivalent historical experiences, are subjected currently to certain social forces, and as a result have similar world views (Alderfer, 1987, p. 204). The essential characteristic of identity groups is that members join them at birth (Alderfer, 1987, p. 205). The Akerites and Amenians could also be defined as two separate organizational groups.
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This note was uploaded on 06/01/2011 for the course ORL 1000 taught by Professor Buontempo during the Spring '11 term at Columbia.

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Intergroup Dynamics - Alpha - ALPHA PHI ALPHA 1 Alpha Phi...

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