Jesuit University Leadership and Corrective Action:
Taking Responsibility for the Sexual Abuse Crisis
The acts of sexual abuse committed by priests and the efforts to cover up these crimes by those in positions of leadership in the Catholic church created a crisis that received much media attention and public outrage. Properly managing a crisis is needed to diminish the harm to both victims and an organization. Important strategies for an effective crisis response include engaging in corrective action, and communicating this action to organizational stakeholders, with leadership providing cultural direction and resources for action implementation. This research will examine the action and communication of Jesuit universities in their unique position of leadership as higher education, religion-based institutions and how their response aligns with the strategic best practices identified in the crisis communication literature.
John A. Fortunato, Ph. D., is a professor at Fordham University in the Gabelli School of Business, Area of Communication and Media Management. He teaches courses in sports media, digital media marketing, sponsorship and crisis management. Dr. Fortunato is the author of five books, including Commissioner: The Legacy of Pete Rozelle, Sports Sponsorship: Principles & Practices, and Making the Cut: Inside the PGA TOUR System. He has published more than 50 journal articles and book chapters. His articles have appeared in Public Relations Review, Journal of Sports Media, Journal of Sport Management, International Journal of Sport Communication, Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Communication, Journal of Brand Strategy, and multiple law reviews. Dr. Fortunato received his Ph. D. from Rutgers University in the School of Communication.