Volunteering at the 2012 Olympic Games: a tenuous psycholog PowerPoint Presentation

Volunteering at the 2012 Olympic Games: a tenuous psycholog PowerPoint Presentation

2016-07-26 47K 47 0 0


Dr. Geoff Nichols: University of Sheffield. Rita Ralston: Manchester Metropolitan University . Volunteers at the Olympic Games. 70,000. Olympics and / or Paralympics. Tasks organised by venues and roles. ID: 421032

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Volunteering at the 2012 Olympic Games: a tenuous psychological contract

Dr. Geoff Nichols: University of Sheffield

Rita Ralston: Manchester Metropolitan University


Volunteers at the Olympic Games

70,000Olympics and / or ParalympicsTasks organised by venues and rolesWide range of tasksA critical part of the workforce, and contribution to ambiance


Research questions

How do volunteers experience the psychological contract – the ‘deal’What components make it untenable?Could inform management of volunteers at similar events



Episodic volunteers – at the biggest mega-sports eventVery strong motivation to be part of itPsychological contract – influenced by experienceProgramme management will predominate over membership management Post-event euphoria


Recruitment, selection, training

Apply on line [250,000 applicants]Interviews – regionallyOrientation eventRoles training and venue trainingPossible test eventsPick up uniform and accreditation


Recruitment, selection, training

Months between application / interview / notification of placeFew weeks notification of training detailsNo expenses or accommodationEarly / late shifts, announced in May, June



Interviews with 46 volunteers, mainly Sheffield / Manchester area February – June 2012To cover: demographics experience of volunteering processpositive and negative experiences point at which withdrew – if applicable



Follow-up focus groups in September / October 2012To cover: experience of volunteeringexpectations exceeded, met or not metexperience of being managedpost-event feelings


Expectations almost met

Interviewer lacked skills Aware of costs of travel and accommodation – able to plan in advance Opted for tent after orientationWaiting to hear about shifts [Feb.]

Retired, volunteer at Munich Games


Still volunteering - expectations strained

Interview ‘I … felt like I was on some sort of MacDonald’s system’

Orientation – wrong information / lack of refreshments / ‘all fluff’Poorly organised test eventLack of shift information

Very experienced and current volunteer


Withdrawn from volunteering

Interview – could be 20 minutes on phoneOffered role she did not want to do – not using her skillsCalculated costs / accommodation / time away – did not ‘stack up’Withdrew – but contacts to reconsider – impression of LOCOG incompetence

Third year student – language skills


Elements of the psychological contract not met /strained

Costs – travel to the interview, ‘orientation event’, role training, venue training, accreditation and uniform pick up, test eventsThe inflexible process of the interviewNot using volunteers’ skills or experienceWasted time and expense


Elements of the psychological contract not met /strained

Accommodation – having to find itMinimal tangible personal rewards: no complimentary tickets for eventsVolunteers away from the main venues might feel remote from the experienceA lack of foodWaiting for information


Elements of the psychological contract not met /strained

Lack of information – ‘drip fed’Inaccurate or contradictory informationDemands of great flexibilityDemanding shift timesClash with commercial valuesFeeling taken for granted


At the Games

Tsunami of positivism – collective enthusiasmOvercame previous negative impressionsShifts, transport etc – better than expectedStrong identity as a GM – and as part of small team


At the Games

Still some negativesVariable team leadersPoor trainingUnderused Poor communication – contradictory information Working alongside poorly motivated paid staffBUT – not the anticipated problems of transport, shifts, accommodation.


Further questions

How does the PC vary by prior experience of volunteering and by personal circumstances?How perceptions change during and post-games – more analysis?How does an event of this size get the optimum balance between the needs of the event, and the needs of the volunteer?


Thank you for listening.


Dr. Geoff Nichols: University of Sheffield


Rita Ralston: Manchester Metropolitan University







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