Simplicity in the Complexity of Organizing the Olympic Games: The Role of Bureaucracy
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The Olympic Games involve many individual and organizational stakeholders as well as an infinite number of tasks requiring technical competence; hence, they are complex to organize. On the other hand, there are constant principles in their organization that are determined by the rules of the 2014 Olympic Charter and the Host City Contract (HCC), which affect the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (OCOG), an entity of limited duration established with a single mandate: to organize the Games. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the organizational efforts of an OCOG are guided by Weber's tenets of bureaucracy: division of labor; authority structure; system of abstract rules; impersonality; and technical competence. In order to fulfill this purpose the authors used a case study methodology and investigated the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee of Olympic Games (ATHOC). The methodology also included review of relevant literature and official ATHOC documents, especially the 2004 Official Post Games Report. Moreover, personal experience of the first and second authors, who were contractually involved with the organization of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, was employed. It was concluded that ATHOC used Weber's tenets of bureaucracy to simplify its organizational efforts.
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