Mega-event volunteers, similar or different? Vancouver 2010 vs. London 2012

T.J. Dickson, Angela Benson, F.A. Terwiel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to compare motivations of volunteers at two mega multi-sport events. Design/methodology/approach – The research used a quantitative research design to survey volunteers at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (n=2,066) and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games (n=11,451) via an online questionnaire based upon the Special Event Volunteer Motivation Scale. Findings – The results indicate that the volunteers, most of whom had previously volunteered, were motivated by similar variables, including the uniqueness of the event, the desire to make it a success and to give back to their community. The results of the principal components analysis indicated that most items of the scale loaded onto similar components across the two research contexts. Research limitations/implications – There were methodological limitations in terms of the timing of the questionnaire administration and Likert scales used, however, these issues were controlled by gatekeepers. These limitations could have research implication for comparative studies of volunteers at mega events. Practical implications – Understanding volunteer motivations will enable event managers and volunteer managers to plan for legacy. Social implications – Volunteer motivations include wanting to give back to their community and therefore, increases the potential for volunteer legacy. Originality/value – This is the first research that: enables comparison of winter and summer Olympic and Paralympic Games volunteers; has substantial sample sizes in relation to the variables; applies higher item loadings to strengthen the analysis; and involves the use of the same instrument across events
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-179
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Event and Festival Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Volunteers
  • Motivations
  • Mega sport events
  • Olympics
  • Paralympics
  • Principal component analysis


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