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The Emerald Research Register for this journal is available at     The current issue and full text archive of this journal...
IJPPM      (2) the newer, “qualitative” ones, such as customer service, long-term strategic
54,7           planning, analy...
When searching for such motivational factors, several “older”, traditional ones,         National identity
which are well-...
IJPPM   mutually excluding dipoles: good-bad, right-wrong, legal-illegal, homeland-the world.
54,7    Even though during t...
Games are probably the two most visible events of international stature: they ignite        National identity
passions, pr...
IJPPM   The Olympic Games reinforce these attributes when nations participate. Successes in
54,7    the Olympics instil cr...
happening since 11 September, and that this is the first time the world will be coming       National identity
IJPPM   country; this represents one of the key criteria of success of the modern Olympic
54,7    Games.

        3.2 ATHO...
The various conjectural applications of the games were based on these values: the             National identity
emblem of ...
IJPPM   18-24 year old group – which constituted the “hard core” of volunteers – declared that,
54,7    in addition to thi...
Olympic Games are important because they are returning to the land that gave them          National identity
birth”. “It i...
IJPPM   Olympics. All were dressed in an attractive, common uniform making the “most
54,7    cheerful corps of volunteers ...
Athens is a “safe destination” (74.6 per cent), Greece is a “modern European Country”         National identity
(72.3 per ...
IJPPM   per cent and 96.3 per cent). Percentages were similarly high for visitor satisfaction with
54,7    the opening and...
National identity, re-defined as a “distinction” between the collective consciousness              National identity
and it...
IJPPM   Powers, J. (2004), “Greece was game: defying skeptics, undaunted nation delivers a winner”,
               Boston ...
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The National Identity As A Motivational Factor For Better Performance In The Public Sector


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The paper seeks to concern itself with the research field of public sector performance measurement and to introduce the national identity as a performance factor, through a case study (Athens\' Olympic games)

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The National Identity As A Motivational Factor For Better Performance In The Public Sector

  1. 1. The Emerald Research Register for this journal is available at The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at National identity The national identity as a motivational factor for better performance in the public sector 579 The case of the volunteers of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games Panos Karkatsoulis and Nikos Michalopoulos Ministry of the Interior, Public Administration, Athens, Greece, and Vasso Moustakatou European Commission, Brussels, Belgium Abstract Purpose – The paper seeks to concern itself with the research field of public sector performance measurement and to introduce the national identity as a performance factor, through a case study. Design/methodology/approach – The paper attempts an innovative presentation and identification of the attitudes, motivations and beliefs of both Greek people and the volunteers regarding the organisation, the success and the benefits of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. The paper reviews the literature on the relation of national identity and sports and analyses the opinion polls on the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Findings – The paper demonstrates that national identity has been the major motivational factor for the volunteers, whose contribution represented a significant added value to the success of the Olympics. The measurement of performance in such a qualitative analysis is supported by self-reported customers’ satisfaction. Research limitations/implications – It is not a quantitative, structured and executed initial survey, but a secondary, qualitative one. Practical implications – The paper suggests the re-definition of the usually negatively conceived notion of national identity, in a new managerial framework, as a performance factor. Originality/value – This paper is original in its conception, when linking national identity/patriotism with sports and volunteerism in the context of performance measurement, and has a practical dimension, since it proposes tools for measuring performance in cases where a qualitative analysis is appropriate. Keywords Performance measures, Sports, Greece Paper type Case study 1. Open questions for a public sector performance measurement Going through the current bibliography on public sector performance and productivity, one could sort the relevant concepts and the methodological and practical tools into two major categories: International Journal of Productivity (1) the standard managerial ones, such as strong executive leadership, top-down and Performance Management Vol. 54 No. 7, 2005 control, intensive inspections and strict audits, which are inspired by the pp. 579-594 economic sciences and implemented successfully, mostly in the private sector; q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 1741-0401 and DOI 10.1108/17410400510622241
  2. 2. IJPPM (2) the newer, “qualitative” ones, such as customer service, long-term strategic 54,7 planning, analysis and quality measurement of products and procedures. It is evident that there is a growing influence of the so-called “soft” elements of performance measurement tempering the “instrumental rationality”, which underpinned earlier performance models. For example, the shift of human resources 580 management, to include a more cultural perspective of performance measurement opens new, differentiated ways to understand the motivation of involved stakeholders. It is generally accepted that subjective factors – not conceived in an abstract/metaphysical form, where the cognitive/acting subject seems to be the last point of analysis/measurement, but in pragmatic terms – play a crucial role in the transformation of inputs to outputs. The study of human behaviour and human reactions to any organisational regulation or change is absolutely necessary, if the long sought goal of “efficiency” is to be achieved. In cases where organisations treat staff as their greatest resource, they deliver outstanding performance. Where the involvement of the workforce is absent, performance is lacklustre, customer service is poor, and management often resort to rules and bureaucracy to try and deliver improvement. These organisations are likely to have high labour turnover, high absenteeism and stress causing repeated health problems, and industrial relations are likely to be confrontational and focused on monetary reward. Before putting standards of performance and/or relevant regulations into force, it is helpful to examine certain socio-psychological in order to capture the “value” of the human behaviour (Ilgen and Pulakos, 1999). Included among them are: . personal professional behaviour (including counter-productive behaviours); . collective labour performance; . self-evaluation by employees of job satisfaction; and . direct/indirect correlations between the previous variables and concrete organisational outcomes. If it is a fact that such factors can hardly be measured in a strictly financial way, it is even more difficult to convert customer satisfaction from a “well performed” administrative action into financial-quantitative standards and to isolate its specific value (Callahan and Holzer, 1999). In most cases, the “customer” appears under different – often contradictory – “hats” and to measure satisfaction we need quite differentiated tools – arising out of a flexible methodology – which often do not exist or are not used. The above-mentioned constraints constitute some of the problematic areas in performance measurement and, consequently, we need to enrich our measurement instrumentarium – especially in the public sector. To repeat a well-known passage of Mintzberg (1996): Since profit is not the driver of public sector’s activities, mission accomplishment replaces financial outcomes as the organisation’s top level objective. There has been some recent research focusing on the factors that can motivate a collective action with significant impact on the productivity/performance of public agencies. These factors include trust/distrust, credibility and legitimacy relating to organisational performance (Bouckaert, 2002).
  3. 3. When searching for such motivational factors, several “older”, traditional ones, National identity which are well-known in the political/social sciences (social anthropology, ethnology, psychology, etc.) re-emerge. Relating them to the newer notions, arising from administrative science and management, or just setting them into a different context, re-interprets their meaning and widens their analytical capacity. The paper attempts to introduce this approach to the performance management of public organisations. 581 2. The notion of national identity The issue of national identity has been developed through a range of social theories. Toennies’s distinction between “Gemeinschaft” and “Gesellschaft” and Weber’s “charismatic leadership” are re-examined to identify whether they can be included in a sociological definition and understanding of performance. The modern sociology of emotions also contributes to this “problem area”. National identity as a social phenomenon involves feeling proud to be the national of a particular country, appreciating the nation’s problems and participating in problem solving, believing the country is fulfilling its goals, taking personal pride and joy in achievements, introducing oneself openly as a national, and encouraging friends and close acquaintances to see one’s country in a positive light. Any individual might not embrace all attributes of national identity because of social dynamics and personality elements. How strong or weak one is in terms of national consciousness and identity depends on influence systems (positive or negative) projected and propagated by the nation and its people. There are differences in the general opinions of people towards their country in different periods and in different generations. People who grew up in a time of national solidarity, such as the second world war, might be more likely to acquire a lifelong attachment to their nation than those who grew up in a time of “externalism” such as when a country is seeking entry to the European Community. A country in recession will normally see lower national pride than a country in a boom period, ceteris paribus. Also, different amounts of information are available to people within a country, and opinions will differ because of these differing levels of information. It is also relatively common to see a polarity between urban and rural areas and between regions (Matthew et al., 2000). It is quite difficult to regenerate national identity in a non-nationalistic context. There are two particular attributes of nationalism (Tilley et al., 2005). One, which draws most attention, is its relationship to conflict between nations (Hobsbawm, 1990). The other, which has received less attention, is its role in promoting solidarity within the nation (Colley, 1992). Nationality can thus become a basis of mutual obligation and social solidarity: one feels obligations to one’s fellow nationals, for example to provide for them in their old age, that one does not feel towards members of other nations. In a related fashion, Verba (1965) has argued that shared national sentiment can provide a basis for the legitimacy of the state. Metaphorically speaking, we can see shared national identity as providing the social “glue that holds a nation together” (Smith and Jarkko, 1998). As Jacobson (1997) has pointed out, there are several different aspects of national identity. “Nationalist” has often been used as an antonym to “cosmopolitan”. Similarly, there is an understanding that “local” (identity) is opposite to “global”, with globalisation – by definition – implying negation of local characteristics. We are still thinking in
  4. 4. IJPPM mutually excluding dipoles: good-bad, right-wrong, legal-illegal, homeland-the world. 54,7 Even though during this century efforts have been made to perceive, through the existence of networks and systems, a “third way” of understanding, where differentiated qualities co-exist and reproduce themselves (e.g. self-referential systems theory), we still face difficulties in comprehending distinguished social values in an effective whole. 582 2.1 National identity as motive: making volunteering count The issue of public mood and its crucial role as far as the psychological centrality of identities is concerned affects public action through normative conceptions about what it actually means. Social theory suggests that national identity constitutes one of the prevailing factors for the motivation of stakeholders to perform. The paper argues that, in the current context of global governance, “pre-modern” concepts and tools, such as national identity, could have an added value to performance, when re-defined in a broad “post-modern” way. National identity, understood as patriotism that constitutes a source of happiness and self-fulfilment through altruism and voluntary contribution, could be a factor in greater performance and productivity. All can feel patriotic: patriots often feel that they belong to a network, where no hierarchical relations among them exist. The network is a way of self-organising and the values of the network are recognised as personal. In that sense, patriotism can be perceived as a cognitive and self-organising network in a complex socio-economic environment. Furthermore, connecting patriotism with volunteering offers greater scope for understanding both concepts. Volunteering has been, on several occasions, a performance measurement topic with all its “instrumental” weaknesses. The essential basis of volunteering is altruism: people dedicate their energy and time to helping others. The hypothesis that the work of a paid employee and a volunteer can be compared seems to us rather over-simplified. According to those who support such a hypothesis (Anderson and Zimmerer, 2003), the dollar value of the volunteer’s time equates to the dollar value of a paid employee’s time. Perhaps one of the most widely used calculations for assigning a dollar value to volunteer work is the Independent Sector’s Annual Estimate ($16,54): The hourly value, updated yearly, is based on the average hourly earnings of all non-agricultural workers as determined by the US Bureau of Labour Statistics. Independent Sector takes this figure and increases it by 12 per cent to estimate for fringe benefits (Independent Sector, 2003). The difficulty with, or even inappropriateness of, quantification of volunteering effort in financial terms does not negate the invaluable social contribution of volunteering, which has been described as the “glue that holds societies together” (Leigh, 2002). To move beyond dollar values for volunteering, there has been an increasing emphasis on outcome or impact evaluation, measuring the impact of volunteer services on clients on the basis of self-stated customer satisfaction. 2.2. The Olympic Games as an issue in national identity Sport appears to permeate every level of life. Some sport organisations have assumed the status of quasi-religious institutions. The World (Soccer) Cup and the Olympic
  5. 5. Games are probably the two most visible events of international stature: they ignite National identity passions, provide for communal focus and enable an otherwise much divided world to come together and celebrate the best that humanity has to offer (Yiannakis et al., 2003). However, much more is celebrated during such events. We often see demonstrations of great determination, courage and personal sacrifice; we see teamwork and strategy; we see how the latest in human ingenuity manifests itself in the use of sport technology; and we see how the demonstration of some of humanity’s core values 583 elevates the human spirit. The impact of sport does not appear to be contained solely within the world of sport. Literature suggests that sport contributes to the quality of life (Sheppard, 1998) and has the power to influence how people feel about themselves, their state and their country (Yiannakis, 1994). In the international arena, whether it be the Olympics or the World Cup, the exposure that a nation receives on the world stage is often deemed adequate compensation for all the investment that has to be made to prepare and send teams to such prestigious international events. The major recipients of the benefits of such exposure, however, are the nations that produce the winners and the world record breakers. As a result of the public relations impact from demonstrating such excellence on the world stage, these nations often enjoy high prestige, which is believed to translate into significant economic, political and socio-cultural benefits. Such success also contributes greatly to enhancing national pride (Calgary Report, 1988; Johnston, 1985; Ritchie and Lyons, 1990). Hosting world-class events such as the Olympic Games, is another way to benefit from such exposure. While the immediate economic benefits may not always be evident (in some cases the cost of producing such spectacles may be greater than the immediate economic benefits), the exposure that the host nation receives ultimately translates into a variety of both tangible and intangible benefits. These benefits include increased tourism money and goodwill toward the host nation, enhanced political influence abroad, increased foreign exports, increased prestige in the eyes of the world, and more (Johnston, 1985; Ritchie and Lyons, 1990). They may also help educate the rest of the world about who you are, and what your country has to offer. Sports have a specific contribution to national pride and to national identity. Today, there is a developed literature on the relationship between sports (Olympic Games especially) and the fostering of national identities (Ikhioya, 2001). The modern era of the Olympic Games, starting in 1896, experienced a transformation from city-state expectations and aspirations to expectations and aspirations of nations. Reasons why nations participate in the Olympics include: . to be known and recognised in terms of the nation’s unique attributes and status; . to provide opportunities for political, social, and economic diplomacy; . to secure release from political, social, and economic problems – at least for the period the games last; . to enhance image and credibility of national governments and their people; . to be known as a sovereign and independent nation among other nations; and . to show the world the nature and vibrancy of the nation’s youth – men and women of unique and superior status and influence in terms of vitality and versatility.
  6. 6. IJPPM The Olympic Games reinforce these attributes when nations participate. Successes in 54,7 the Olympics instil credibility to national governments, increase sense of belonging and identity among the populace and afford opportunities for nations to be identified in terms of international awareness and recognition in building international confidence, friendships and cooperation. Winning the right to host the Olympic Games implies mobilisation and reorientation of both government agencies and the populace. It is a 584 period for a host nation to show the worth and strength of its people, including resources and values and in this way national identity can also be fostered. 3. Athens 2004 Olympic Games As the smallest country to host the biggest ever Olympic Games (a record 202 nations participated in the 28th Olympiad) “Greece has not been given enough credit” (statements of foreign specialists, involved in the preparations, to “The Observer”). These games broke a number of records. Athens hosted 11,099 athletes, the largest number ever, including the largest number of women athletes ever. The Olympic flame travelled for the first time to all continents, allowing 260 million people to see it in their city. The shot put was held in Olympia and women competed there for the first time. Four billion viewers all over the world watched the Athens games. The “makeover” of the city of Athens was impressive. Massive EU-funded works, that might otherwise never have been completed, have rejuvenated the capital. Fears of the notorious traffic congestion stopping spectators even getting to venues were quashed with the creation of one of Europe’s most sophisticated transport systems and a spectacular archaeological park united its cultural treasures. Greece has invested heavily in new roads and highways, in a brand new world-class airport, in a brand new metro system, in new hotels and in a program of refurbishment of historic buildings and sites. It has built new sports facilities and upgraded existing ones, intended to be available for use by the nation after the games. The effects of such development on Greece, and on Athens in particular, are expected to make a significant impact on the quality of life in the longer term, on easing traffic congestion and pollution, on tourism and on national pride. As has been said: The true legacy of the games is the sense of accomplishment and pride among the citizenry (Powers, 2004). Today, the Athens 2004 Olympics are recognised world-wide as probably the best in modern times. Praise has come from the most testing of critics – the athletes themselves. Athens rolled out an elaborate test-event programme that enabled international sports federations to get a first-hand feel of the facilities. And most concurred that the venues were world-class. Andrew Ryan, the chief operating officer of the International Badminton Federation, enthused: We believe that the Goudi hall will be the best-ever venue for badminton at an Olympiad. The Greeks were forced to implement unprecedented security measures as hosts of the first, post-11 September, summer games. At around e1.2 billion, Athens spent four times more on security than Sydney in 2000. David Riordan, an Australian who helped train Athens’s 100,000-strong Olympic workforce, said: Sydney was a great success but I’ve no doubt these games will be just as great. They’ll have a sense of history, culture and mood that no other city has offered before. Given what has been
  7. 7. happening since 11 September, and that this is the first time the world will be coming National identity together, it makes the games even more meaningful. It’s very fitting that Athens should be hosting them. Herman Frazier, Chief of Mission of the 2004 US Olympic Team thanked Athens 2004 organisers: Because they’ve done a great job of hosting these games. 585 Athens 2004 President, Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, was presented with the IOC Woman of the Year in Sports for 2004, the European Achiever of the Year Award for 2004 and the gold medal of the International Special Olympics Committee. Jacques Rogge, the president of IOC, said at the end of the games: “The Greek people have won!” and indeed they had. Juan Antonio Samaranch, former president of IOC, admitted that “Athens organised fantastic, amazing Olympic Games” and now Athens 2004 exports Olympic know-how to Beijing and to candidate cities for future Olympic Games. 3.1 The Hellenic identity as a new national ideology: its impact on the volunteers In this paper we focus on the affective aspect, the degree to which volunteers as individuals have emotional bonds with their nation and how that influences their performance. In that context, the paper seeks to identify how the special Hellenic values (i.e. tolerance, sense of measure, solidarity, repulsion to violence and formalism and human dignity) co-existed harmoniously with the “modern” managerial values (economy, effectiveness, efficiency) that are essential for the successful implementation of a project of the magnitude of the Olympic Games. That harmony would have been impossible without political and social consensus around a “national goal”. This, in fact, constitutes a new ideology for modern Hellas. It was hoped that the Athens 2004 Olympic Games would be a catalyst in changing the image of the country abroad and a locomotive for the modernisation of infrastructure and the development of economic, commercial and tourist transactions (V-PRC, 2004). Public opinion polls showed right from the beginning a high acceptance of the Olympic Games, and high regard for the organising committee, the ATHOC. From the data of the Weekly Barometer of Telephonic Interviews undertaken by the consortium MRB-VPRC-RI in the period between 21/2/2003-10/1/2004, it is evident that the “ideological-vision” of the games was both shared and intense in Hellenic Society (V-PRC, 2004). This supports the view that there is a long-standing relationship between sports (especially the Olympic Games) and “national pride”. This feeling of pride and support for the games crossed all age, local and political boundaries (V-PRC, 2004). This immense social consensus around the ideological and political dimensions of the games constituted a precondition for the significant numbers expressing a desire to make a participatory contribution to the games, even though Greece is a country with a low tradition of volunteerism and weak (until today) in terms of volunteer and non-governmental organisations. The numbers of volunteers, their performance and the quality of their work play an important role in the organisation and cost of the games, as well as contributing to the overall impression given of the organising
  8. 8. IJPPM country; this represents one of the key criteria of success of the modern Olympic 54,7 Games. 3.2 ATHOC, 2004 as a public organisation The aim of ATHENS 2004 as a public entity was to deliver the benefits that are 586 commensurate with the major investment in the Olympic Games. The mission of the ATHOC, 2004 was: . to organise a technically excellent Olympic Games; . to provide to the athletes, spectators, viewers and volunteers a unique Olympic experience, thus leaving behind a legacy for the Olympic movement; . to display the Olympic ideals in a contemporary setting through their traditional Hellenic symbols; . to promote and implement the Olympic truce through the torch relay; . to control the commercial aspect of the Olympic Games; . to promote the cultural and natural heritage of Greece to the eyes of the world; . to showcase the achievements of modern Greece and its potential for the future; . to protect and enhance the natural environment and promote environmental awareness; and . to promote the benefits of the games throughout the country. The organisation’s values were envisaged in: “celebration”, “human scale”, “heritage” and “participation”. With renewed civic pride, a massive surge in volunteerism and the return of the Olympic Games to their ancient birthplace, ATHOC, 2004 aspired to leave the legacy of the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games to the world. ATHOC, 2004 as an organisation set the following values and motivational messages for its employees/volunteers, and the Greek people in general, in its communication campaign: . The case of Greece, as far as its relationship with the Olympic Games is concerned, is unique. The main message: “the games return back home”, signified clearly the difference of Greece: the small country that offered its heritage to the rest of the world and, centuries after, re-animated the idea of the Olympics in the modern age, was about to host them once more. . The human being is the measure of everything. The central message of the Hellenic philosophy became the leading ethical, and at the same time, operational imperative for the games. Against the gigantism and commercialisation of the ´ games, the ethical value of human endeavour and “fair play” (“1y agvnız1suai”) gave a different perspective to the Olympic Games in the current world. . The Olympic Games are all a matter of participation. The more people, the better! The games became not only an experts-issue, but a forum where the largest possible participation was a measure and a guarantee of success. . The Olympic Games is the biggest celebration in the world. Athens 2004 Olympic Games were an event of happy encounters and optimism, a challenge for humanity to demonstrate that people can compete peacefully.
  9. 9. The various conjectural applications of the games were based on these values: the National identity emblem of the games, the mascots, the iconogramms, the medals and the Olympic torch were designed both to appeal aesthetically, particularly to Greek citizens, and to “speak to their hearts”, motivating them towards stronger participation and performance. There was, in fact, an evolution of this design process: in the beginning there was a tendency to base designs on the classic patterns of the ancient civilization. This approach was later abandoned in favour of a post-modern synthesis 587 of antiquity and archetypes. This change was popular with a majority of the population (especially young people), who saw in these changes an expression of new perceptions and an integration of the past into the present. As has been mentioned already, the ATHOC, 2004 followed previous the principles and values above when designing the volunteering policy, building upon them with managerial tools and priorities. The following shows the approach to the recruitment and management of the volunteering process: . the selection of volunteers was based on merit; . a personal interview was followed by training; . the people and their diversity were valued; . working in partnership was promoted; and . open and communicative methods were used. 3.3 The volunteers in ATHOC, 2004 The massive participation of people in the volunteering program of the ATHOC, 2004 suggests that the approach was practical and lucid. The number of volunteers in Athens was, especially considering the size of the population, impressive, larger than ever before: 65,000 volunteers in Athens, against 35,000 volunteers in Barcelona, 60,500 in Atlanta and 47,000 in Sydney. It is noteworthy that overall 160,000 people applied for the original 45,000 positions. This is a record number in comparison with the 76,000 applications for Sydney and the 78,000 applications for the Atlanta Olympic Games. The applicants were 55 per cent women and 45 per cent men. A total of 78 per cent of the candidates were 35 years old or younger, and 41 per cent of applicants were highly educated. A total of 65 per cent of the applicants were residents of Greece, 9.5 per cent were Greeks residing in other countries and 25.5 per cent were nationals of 188 different countries, the most from the US, then Spain and Germany. More than 90,000 interviews were conducted among the candidates to select the volunteers that would participate in the corps (ATHOC, 2004). A total of 70 per cent of the potential volunteers for the Athens Olympic Games were applying for the first time ever to a volunteer program of any kind. A total of 21 per cent of the young people aged 15-17 years declared in face to face interviews conducted in 2003, a “great interest” in volunteering, while the respective percentage in the age group of 18-24 year olds was 12.1 per cent. The percentage was equally high among students and the unemployed (19.6 per cent and 16 per cent respectively). In the older age-groups the percentage of those “very interested” varied from 5 per cent (citizens over 65 year-old) to 8 per cent (35-44 year-olds). Also very interesting is the partial differentiation in motive among the applicants. From the younger group (15-17 years-old) through to the older (over 65) interviewees expressed patriotic reasons for volunteering (“to serve my country”). However, the
  10. 10. IJPPM 18-24 year old group – which constituted the “hard core” of volunteers – declared that, 54,7 in addition to this widely-held motive (34.3 per cent), a more pragmatic one existed – that of professional experience (25.9 per cent) (V-PRC, 2004). Some interesting facts about the perceptions and the general attitude of candidate volunteers for the Olympic Games, in relation to their pride in the nation and their psychological ties to it, emerged from an opinion poll conducted throughout all parts of 588 Greece between 15 March and 15 April 2004, by the MRB, V-PRC and Research International (2004b) joint venture, an ATHENS 2004 partner. The poll was conducted among a sample of 2,000 individuals aged 18 through 65, who had submitted applications for the Organising Committee’s Olympic Volunteer Programme, some of them being accepted and accredited. The survey suggested that Greeks did indeed feel proud of their country and that the psychological ties binding them were on the whole strong. Volunteers were generally strenuously patriotic when abstract concepts like pride, sense of belonging and “what Greece means to them” were mentioned. People were willing to work for the Olympic Games without getting paid, suggesting that this “national pride” was more than mere rhetoric; they placed notions like pride above their economic well-being. In more details, the survey showed that the attitude of the candidate volunteers towards the Olympic Games was extremely positive. They believed these games to be of special importance to Greece and the games to be “quite important” or “very important” for them (95.2 per cent). They found themselves directly affected by the holding of the games. A total of 81.7 per cent of the volunteers declared that the Olympics concerned them directly as Greeks. The percentage was higher for women candidate volunteers (83.2 per cent) than for men (79.5 per cent). In Athens, the percentage was 84.4 per cent, while for the rest of Greece it was somewhat lower (73.5 per cent) – except in Volos, where it rose to 85.0 per cent. By age group, those identifying the games as particularly important for them constituted 85.1 per cent for ages 18-19, 87 per cent for ages 40-49, and as much as 90 per cent for those over 60. Candidate volunteers saw their participation as essential to the games’ success. One in three said they had served as volunteers in the past. This means that two-thirds were coming forward as volunteers for the first time in their lives, motivated by the presence of the Olympic Games in Greece and their chance to contribute. Two-thirds of candidate volunteers said they would like to continue voluntary service in other sectors of society after the Olympic and Special Olympics Games. Though the wish to serve as volunteers after the games was evident in all age groups, it is notable that the percentage was over 80 per cent for ages 50-59 and the over-60s. This is surely a significant legacy of the Athens Olympics. It suggests that the Olympic Volunteers Programme has helped strengthen a sense of community service in Greek society that is left to be exploited by the state and other public bodies. Responses indicated that the three main reasons for serving as an Olympic volunteer were: (1) Making a contribution to the motherland. (2) Enjoying the unique opportunity to participate in such an experience. (3) The importance of the objective. The positive attitude of candidate volunteers towards the games emerges from some revealing phrases used. “The games are a watershed in the history of Greece”. “The
  11. 11. Olympic Games are important because they are returning to the land that gave them National identity birth”. “It is a unique opportunity for Greece to be promoted all over the world”. “The event will require sacrifice but, in the end, it will be Greece that will benefit”. To the question “how important do you consider the volunteers contribution to the success of the games to be?”, 92.4 per cent replied “extremely important.” The answers to the question “what do you consider the main benefits to Greece from hosting the Olympic Games?” were, in descending order of frequency: public 589 infrastructure works; promotion of Greece abroad; and boosting of Greek tourism. There were no attempts to cross-validate the results of this survey by including details on the time frame as well as the national and economic backdrop in which it was conducted. However, the general mood and performance of the Hellenic nation at the time may have had an influence. The nation was undergoing improved economic performance and the national team had recently won the European (Soccer) Cup; pride had already been given a boost. Volunteers were employed on average for ten hours per day, for seven to ten days during the 14 days of the Olympic Games (or Special Olympics). Their main areas of involvement were: . administration services; . communications; . energy management; . environment; . information technology; . international relations; . language services; . medal ceremonies; . medical services and doping control; . Olympic transport; . Olympic youth camp; . opening and closing ceremonies; . press operations; . public relations; . security; . spectator services; . sports; . telecommunications; and . tourism and hospitality. Following the “instrumental” logic of equalising the compensation of a volunteer with that of a paid employee, interesting results may come out as far as the added value of their contribution is concerned. Their presence and their appearance was valued. They were collectively considered to be one of the best-trained and most helpful “corps of volunteers” seen at an
  12. 12. IJPPM Olympics. All were dressed in an attractive, common uniform making the “most 54,7 cheerful corps of volunteers in memory” (Powers, 2004). As spectators left the stadium and the Olympic grounds, dozens of well-groomed and cordial staff called out from judges chairs “good night”, “goodbye”, “sweet dreams”, “travel safely” and other such hospitable farewells (Rosandich, 2004). Taken together, the statements of visitors, guests and experts do suggest that it was 590 national pride that mainly motivated the Greeks (people, government, organisers and volunteers) to successfully organise the Olympics – and, in turn, the success of the games, contributed to their justifiable pride. It was “the joy, the passion, the easygoing skill of the Greeks”, in other words, “the irresistible Hellenic flavour” (Powers, 2004) that made this Olympics successful. The Sydney games had already shown the importance of volunteers; they made a very important contribution at the success of the Sydney games; in Atlanta, as in Sydney, the Olympic Volunteer Programme relied on a large, well-organised pool of volunteers. Greece had no civic tradition of volunteering and many had feared the worse. But Riordan, who also worked with volunteers, said he had been genuinely struck by just how “helpful, friendly and capable”, they had been. “They’re a much younger group, all bilingual and very willing. At the end of the day, it’s they who are going to be the face of Greece. What some four and a half billion television viewers are going to see”. The World Federation of Aquatic Sports (FINA) president Mustapha Larfaoui presented the federation’s highest distinction, the FINA Order, to the Athens 2004 Organising Committee (ATHOC) Chief Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki for her contribution, and that of her staff and the ATHOC volunteers, to the aquatic sport events at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. FINA said in an announcement: This award represents FINA’s highest recognition to the President of ATHOC, her collaborators and especially the volunteers for their participation in the organisation of aquatic sports (swimming, water polo, diving and synchronised swimming), leading to the great FINA success here in Athens. In presenting the award, Larfaoui said that the volunteers were the soul of the Athens games and had contributed to the maximum to the smooth organisation of all the aquatic sports: the swimming competitions and the other three pool events. USOC praised Athens for the success of the games, Chairman of the US Olympic Committee Board of Directors, Peter Ueberroth, said during a press conference in Athens at the closure of the XVIII Olympiad: It was a great games. History will record that these games are among the greatest, if not the greatest games of all time. Ueberroth thanked Athenians and the Greeks in general for the gift they had provided, on behalf of the USOC and the American people. He thanked the volunteers who put their life on hold for a short time in order to provide their services selflessly: Everyone thanks the volunteers, but you have to focus for a moment on these people, who have given up a month of their lives to train and perform for nothing – no tickets or anything, but to make their country proud. They have done that indeed. To the Olympic officials and to the citizens of Greece, who have proven that this is a friendly country, a successful country, a country to be proud of.
  13. 13. Athens is a “safe destination” (74.6 per cent), Greece is a “modern European Country” National identity (72.3 per cent) that organised “technically excellent” Olympic Games (64.6 per cent) with a “human dimension” (66.2 per cent). This is the new “Hellenic identity” that emerges after the hosting of the games of the XXVIII Olympiad (Vernardakis, 2004), as perceived by citizens in five countries (the US, the UK, Spain, Germany and France) and reflected in the above results of a public opinion poll conducted in these countries in September 2004 on behalf of ATHOC, 2004 by a consortium consisting of MRB, 591 V-PRC and Research International (2004c). More specifically, the survey was carried out in the period from 1-22 September 2004 in the US (1,001 respondents), Spain (502 respondents), Germany (507 respondents), the UK (519 respondents) and France (502 respondents). It was a telephone survey conducted in accordance with the Codes of Practice laid down by the Association of Greek Market and Opinion Research Companies (SEDEA) and ESOMAR. The respondents were selected at random from among the adult members of every household, following a random calling process. In total, the Olympic Games of Athens were characterised as successful by a percentage of the respondents that ranges from 94 to 97 per cent, while 40 per cent of all respondents considered the Athens games to be the best games ever organised in the history of the modern Olympic Games. More specifically, 35 per cent of respondents in the US found the games successful, with 59.3 per cent finding them very successful. In Europe, 52.8 per cent of the respondents believed the games were successful and 44 per cent very successful. In the UK 59 per cent found the games very successful and 38 per cent successful. In Germany, 62.7 per cent believed they were successful and 32.5 per cent very successful. A total of 58.4 per cent of Spanish respondents considered the games successful with 38.8 per cent finding them very successful. Finally in France, 53 per cent found that the games were successful and 45.2 per cent very successful. These survey results also show that the majority of respondents felt “more positive” about Greece after the games, based on what they saw or heard during that period, and that there are increased positive opinions about Greece. The data collected allow the conclusion to be drawn that, after the success of the games, Greece has strengthened the future of its tourism industry. Indeed, 38.7 per cent of Americans expressed their intention to visit Greece in the future, with 49.2 per cent of Europeans expressing the same intention, both ranking Greece as their second most popular destination after Italy. In terms of their intention to travel to Greece for their holidays, Germans represent the largest “client-base”. That the undertaking of the 2004 Athens Olympics was wholly successful is also the conclusion drawn from a games-time poll by the consortium MRB, V-PRC and Research International (2004a). The focus of the poll was the level of satisfaction of games spectators, 96 per cent of whom were totally satisfied by the volunteers and the organisers of the games as far as the quality of service within the Olympic venues was concerned. The percentage remains the same when the analysis is based on nationality and age. That means that all age-groups, as well as both Greeks and foreign residents in Greece were totally satisfied by the work of the volunteers. In particular, the exit poll was conducted on a statistically significant sample of 5,028 Greek and foreign spectators at all stadiums in Attica. It is striking that there is no difference between the percentage of Greek and foreign visitors that were completely satisfied and quite satisfied with the sport they had watched (95.2 per cent and 94.4 per cent respectively), nor among age groups (percentage ranges between 93.4
  14. 14. IJPPM per cent and 96.3 per cent). Percentages were similarly high for visitor satisfaction with 54,7 the opening and closing ceremonies, or with the infrastructure (stadiums and other venues) (above 95 per cent). The most critical element in the success of the Athens Olympic Games was, almost by definition, the human factor. The poll implied that the organisation (the ATHENS 2004 workforce) and its volunteers were fully alive to their responsibilities and strained 592 every nerve in order that the Olympic Games should be executed flawlessly. Thus 96 per cent of spectators polled said they were completely satisfied and/or quite satisfied with the stadium personnel (97.1 per cent for Greeks, 95.4 per cent for foreigners). Similarly, Greek and foreign visitors to the games commented favourably on the people they had been meeting and keeping company with (96.2 per cent satisfied), with only 2.9 per cent commenting unfavourably. Among visitors as a whole, 96.8 per cent had quite positive or very positive feelings towards Greece. Most positive of all were spectators from Latin America (83.7 per cent), Africa (81 per cent), the UK (80.5 per cent), and the US (78.3 per cent), while the lowest percentage of very positive feelings towards Greece belonged to spectators from Turkey (40 per cent), though as many as 53.3 per cent of them did express quite positive feelings. A separate nation-wide survey conducted in Greece on a sample of 2,000 citizens after the end of the Olympic Games, in September 2004, showed that the majority of Greeks believes that the success of the Olympics has enhanced perceptibly the position of Greece on the international stage. To the question “compared to one year before, the position of our country internationally has become more powerful, weaker, or remained the same?” 58 per cent of the respondents expressed the view that Greece’s position on an international level is now more powerful. This view is complemented by the opinion that the successful organisation of the Olympic Games was of benefit to the country, an opinion shared by 72.3 per cent of the citizens who participated in the survey. A percentage of 79.2 of the respondents expressed the view that “undertaking to host the games was the right choice for Greece”, with only one in ten respondents holding an opposite view (10.9 per cent). 4. Concluding remarks The quality of the games was praised by all competent international organisations and the international press. IOC characterised the Athens Olympics as “unique” and “dream games”, the international public broke all records of TV viewing and the numbers of international donors and athletes reached their peak. We believe that the Athens 2004 Olympic Games provide evidence of the added value of the Hellenic identity as far as the motivation of the volunteers for increased productivity is concerned. It has already been shown that national identity was a major driving force of the volunteers in overcoming the difficulties of a very complicated project. The analysis of personal interviews and commentary on everyday operations verify, in our view, the crucial role of “Hellenism” in this motivation. This was achieved by accentuating the core values that are an enduring strength of the Greek people and by raising the capacity of the volunteers to secure outcomes and to adapt to changing circumstances. National identity is enriching national pride and, consequently, pride strongly motivates people to work. However, the actual performance is still to be measured in a more detailed analysis of their offer.
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