School of Professional Studies

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


School of Professional Studies

Chief Instructor

Rich Aroian


This research thesis project is an analysis of how and why governments fail in their attempts at crisis communication. The hypotheses tested are: there exists a negative correlation between unethical leadership and successful crisis communication practices. And governments are more likely to experience these failures due to ethical disconnects in modern politics. Research includes a review of relevant academic literature regarding crisis communication theory, as well as the ethical framework that can be applied to that theory. Cases considered are Hurricane Katrina, the choking death of Eric Garner, and the COVID-19 global pandemic. The research project concludes with a recommendation for organizations to use the academic theories as tests, and the examples set by the specific organizations as tools with which to pass those tests.



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