Challenges, obligations, and pending career interruptions: Securing meanings at the exit stage of sport mega-event work

Xiaoyan Xing, Laurence Chalip

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Work for sport mega-events is shaped by the unique characteristics of the event organizing committee as it is temporary, often bureaucratic, grows rapidly, and provides rich symbolism. This study provides a follow-up to Xing and Chalip's study examining the experience of work at the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG), which took place 2 years prior to the Games. Participant observation and interviews with the original study participants were conducted immediately prior to the Games. The themes obtained 2 years earlier had evolved. Three new themes emerged capturing the evolution of the work experience from the event's planning to implementation: the workers faced more challenges; they felt impelled to do a good job throughout; and they were disturbed by the post-Games job uncertainty. Meanwhile, the immediate work environment continued to provide supports. The significance of the work was seen in the values of the Games to the country and a better understanding of Chinese society. Pending job termination caused anxiety. It is suggested that organizational support for post-event career preparation and job search may mitigate the anxiety. Focusing the workers on the materialization of their efforts at the delivery of the event may help them to secure meanings from work and continue to concentrate on their work during the event.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-396
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Sport Management Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012


  • Olympic Organizing Committee
  • event project management
  • meaning in sport
  • work experience evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management

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