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Description: Recent events at Penn State University, while certainly reflecting a very serious issue that should not be taken lightly, provide a unique opportunity to explore several aspects of management. The decision to use this situation as a basis for discussion should be carefully considered.

Source: J. W. Miller, & R. Bachman, “Paterno Ousted at Penn State,” Wall Street Journal

Date: November 10, 2011

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Questions for discussion:

  1. As Penn State University moves through and out of this crisis, why will communication be important? Incorporate social capital into your response.
  2. It has been reported that Coach Paterno communicated what he knew about the situation to his superiors. How would you characterize that communication (i.e., effective, efficient, both)?
  3. Obviously, the image of Penn State has been affected by this scandal. The university will survive. Nevertheless, work must be done to repair its image. Discuss the importance of persuasive and credible communication in this process. Given that nearly all the leadership elements are gone, who should be responsible for communicating with students, employees, alumni, and the general public?
  4. Moving forward, how should the next university president utilize communication, active listening, and interactive management to reduce the chances of another scandal happening?


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