Movement roles project/Peer organizations/Models/Olympics

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The Olympic movement is inclusive, decentralized and globally coherent

  • the Olympic movement consists of over 100 recognized international sports federations (IFs), 205 National Olympic Committees (NOCs), the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC, which is also split among five continental associations),and the International Olympic Committee
  • the annual "session" of the IOC decides the location of the Olympics globally (the Olympics does not rotate around regions)
  • the IOC staff and board in Lausanne run the games, negotiates with broadcasters and sponsors, makes global decisions (e.g for the use of the brand), and convenes the movement
  • national and sporting associations are accountable for their use of the brand and the advancement of the Olympic movement and its ideals

The IOC collects over half of the revenue of the entire movement from broadcast rights, sponsorship, etc.[1] Headquartered in Lausanne, the IOC employs a full-time staff of about 150, managed by an International Executive Board of 15, in turn elected by the annual "session" of 115 members, representing 205 national associations, athletes, and staff.

Three reasons why users like this model[edit]

  1. Inclusive
  2. Decentralized
  3. Global

Three concerns of users about this model[edit]

  1. Hard to build and defend brand
  2. Risk of corruption
  3. Hierarchical

The main drawback with this "design model" for other NGO networks is that it requires a very strong brand to hold it together. A strong brand is expensive to build and hard to protect. Global NGO networks are increasingly looking to protect and develop their brands consistently around the world (e.g. World Wildlife Fund). Wikimedia has the advantage of an already-strong brand: Wikipedia.

In 1982 the USOC and IOC sued the organizers of the Gay Olympics – now called the Gay Games – for using the name "Olympics". Defendants of the lawsuit contended that the law was capriciously applied and that if the Nebraska Rat Olympics and the Police Olympics did not face similar lawsuits, neither should the Gay Olympics. The IOC was able, however, to retain global control of its brand.

Example of response to a crisis[edit]

The IOC has responded quickly to global crises. In 2002 allegations of bribery in Salt Lake City threatened a considerable proportion of sponsorship revenue. After investigation, twenty members of the IOC were expelled or sanctioned. New term and age limits were put into place for IOC membership, and fifteen former Olympic athletes were added to the committee.

The relative simplicity and clear accountabilities of the design of the Olympic movement make transparency easier and have helped fight corruption.

Similar models[edit]

The Marine Stewardship Counci uses a similar design to operate a worldwide sustainable seafood ecolabel program. Over 7,000 seafood products in 74 countries are sold with the MSC ecolabel. The MSC main office is in London, and its governance reflects a brand range of associations and interest groups: consumers, environmentalists, the fishing industry, food processing, etc.

Some have suggested that FIFA or The International Federation of Association Football (French: Fédération Internationale de Football Association) is another example. While FIFA is inclusive, decentralized and global, it is beset with allegations of corruption.


  1. John T Gournville, Marco Bertini, 2009. "The London 2012 Olympics". Harvard Business School.