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Losing the faith: organizational identification and wrongdoing in the Catholic church


Academy of Management Proceedings


Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Authors / Editors

Stroube B K;Zavyalova A


Publication Year



We contribute to research on organizational wrongdoing by empirically investigating the effect of a rare but consequential type of wrongdoing–intentional wrongdoing that leads to severe consequences–on supportive behaviors by stakeholders with different levels of organizational identification. We examine these relationships in the context of a 2005 grand jury investigation that detailed alleged sexual abuse within the parishes of a single Catholic Church archdiocese. We use this report as a natural experiment to investigate the effect of parish association with wrongdoing priests on churchgoer activity statistics during 1970-2010. Consistent with prior research, our findings indicate that the occurrence of a severe wrongdoing leads to lower support from low-identification stakeholders. Interestingly, and contrary to prior studies, while a mere occurrence of a severe wrongdoing does not lead to lower support from high-identification stakeholders, this group withdraws their support with an increase in the magnitude of wrongdoing.

Available on ECCH


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