Marching in the glory:Experiences and meanings when working for a sport mega-event

Xiaoyan Xing, Laurence Chalip

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Sport mega-event organizing committees have three uniquely challenging characteristics: They grow rapidly; they are temporary; they are accountable for event symbolisms. Effects of these characteristics are examined via participant observation and in-depth interviews with twelve lower-level employees of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) two years before the Beijing Olympics. our themes about their working lives were identified: The daily work is mundane; BOCOG is bureaucratic; privilege has its privileges; my immediate working environment nurtures me. The mega-event context was also important; workers described it using: The Olympics are great and grand; the Olympics are valuable for hina; the Olympics illustrate the challenges that China faces in the 21st century; BOCOG is uniquely high profile; BOCOG helps us to understand Chinese society. Employees used four themes to describe the coping strategies they applied to manage the challenges of working for the organizing comm tee: I have to confront or adjust; my work at BOCOG allows me to develop myself; working at BOCOG represents a passionate life with idealism; I get to be part of history. Findings suggest that social support, the symbolic significance of the event, and learning through event work mitigate the stresses of working to host a mega-event. Future work should examine the workers' lives longitudinally over the lifespan of an organizing committee to delineate the dynamics of meanings and experiences in mega-event work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-237
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Sport Management
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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