Publication Details

Gross, M. (2005). Nexus of Silence: A Grounded Theory of Organizational Behaviour behind the Cover-up of Deviance. Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference (pp. 1-15). Canberra, Australia: Australiana and New Zealand Academy of Management.


In 2002, the Boston Globe newspaper revealed the cover-up by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston of sexual abuse of children by clergy. A grounded theory investigation to answer the question "how could authorities allow this to happen?" revealed a 'nexus of silence' as the central phenomenon that allowed the deviance to continue in Boston and throughout the wider institution of the church. Over decades, linked to avoiding scandal, a 'nexus of silence' prevented disclosure of the sexual abuse problem, understanding of the nature and scale of the deviance, and provision of controls to protect children. This paper explains the 'nexus of silence' phenomenon to assist governance bodies in avoiding scandal, economic loss and loss of public trust over cover-up of deviance.