Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Karen Blanchard


Most nonprofit managers consider the communications function of the agency to be predominantly about influencing external stakeholders including clients, funders, and constituents. Using a blend of academic literature from the fields of Psychology, Organizational Management, and Communications Studies a case study was developed to examine a management crisis experienced in a domestic youth development nonprofit agency. Following a coordinated communications campaign during 2007-2008 regarding LGBTQ issues staff arrived for seasonal employment to find that their expectations did not match day-to-day practices. Using quantitative survey data and anecdotal observations the degree of employee dissatisfaction was examined, and through the lens of Cognitive Consistency Theory the degree of dissatisfaction was found to have a tremendous impact on staff management. Three strategies were suggested with best practices and sustainability in mind: 1-Agencies need to evaluate how well its day-to-day management lines up with the public face of the agency; 2-Executive managers should examine their organizational structure looking for what role the individual(s) responsible for crafting the public narrative has in setting agency-wide management policies; 3-Agencies should use their public narrative to incentivize staff to keep them performing at the most productive levels by leveraging the prosocial good in which they are engaged.


Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Business and Corporate Communications | Organizational Behavior and Theory