370 | 30, pp. 369-388 | doxa.comunicación

January-June of 2020

Analysis of the university reputational crisis through the social networks Twitter and Facebook...

ISSN: 1696-019X / e-ISSN: 2386-3978

1. Introduction

The current situation at universities is one of growing change. Not only are they required to fulfil their main educational function, but now they are required to operate and be managed as companies as well. This reality has made it increasingly important for universities to maintain their reputation in the minds of the public. In order to do this, universities are using basic concepts of managing intangible elements: identity, image and reputation. The greatest problem in creating an image of quality and reputation among the different stakeholders that causes nearly all of the work carried to be lost is a result of crises caused by an error made by the corporation, or in connection with it. This investigation delves deeper into this subject. It involves the reputational crisis that occurred at Rey Juan Carlos University in the spring of 2018. The crisis that occurred at the heart of the university is a consequence of the wrongful granting of a Master’s Degree in “Regional and Local Public Law” by this university. This crisis encompasses the problem of two subjects of the master’s degree just mentioned and a third subject as well.

This work is of academic interest and aims to contribute by providing a study that analyses the crisis management of a real case at an outstanding university, in hopes that this research might allow for the identification of both good and bad practices in carrying out the management of a reputational crisis. The results of this research can be used as guidelines for crisis management, and in turn might serve as examples that show mistakes that can be made and how to solve them. The study investigates the communications made by Rey Juan Carlos University during the period from March to September of 2018.

in order to attract revenue. Within this context, this investigation presents a content analysis of the communications issued by Rey Juan Carlos University during the crisis resulting from the so-called “Master’s Degree case”. This analysis has been carried out from both a quantitative and qualitative point of view, based on a series of variables. The aim is to draw conclusions regarding how the crisis was handled, as such conclusions will help to clarify different aspects of the communicative actions after an exhaustive analysis of the electronic communications issued by the university under study. This paper focuses on investigating the variables involved in this particular case without introducing subjective aspects of judgement.


Reputation; university; reputation crisis; identity; image; crisis management.

tionar su imagen y su reputación, con el fin de atraer ingresos. Den-tro de este contexto, la investigación que se presenta a continuación expone un análisis de contenido sobre las comunicaciones emitidas por la Universidad Rey Juan Carlos durante su periodo de crisis oca-sionado por el denominado “caso máster”. El análisis se realiza des-de un punto de vista cuantitativo y cualitativo, basándose en una serie de variables. De este modo, se pretende obtener conclusiones sobre la gestión de crisis llevada a cabo, que ayuden a esclarecer dis-tintos aspectos sobre las acciones comunicativas, tras el exhaustivo análisis de las comunicaciones electrónicas emitidas por la univer-sidad estudiada. Este estudio se centra en el estudio de las variables de este determinado caso, sin añadir elementos subjetivos de juicio.

Palabras clave:

Reputación; universidad; crisis reputacional; identidad; imagen; gestión de crisis.