Staff at the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) believe the organization’s culture is “out of step” with “Olympic ideals”, according to the results of an independent review of the governing body.
The review was ordered after claims of workplace bullying were leveled at high-end executives within the organization – something which reared its head during a campaign for the AOC’s presidency earlier this year.
During the campaign, incumbent AOC President John Coates was accused of doing little to reign in AOC media director Mike Tancred’s bullying of former AOC chief executive Fiona de Jong, pointing to a cultural problem within the organization.
The report said while staff had “immense pride” for what the AOC has achieved over the past few decades, there was a culture problem plaguing the organization.
“It is clear that the organization is currently facing significant challenges. The modes of operation that may at one time have served it well are being questioned and its organizational culture has come under scrutiny,” the findings, released on Thursday, said.
“While staff and stakeholders hold the AOC in high regard and express immense pride in what the organization has achieved over the years, they describe the organization as being out of step – with both their ideals and minimum expectations for a modern organization.
“Instead of seeing the organization as celebrating the best of the Olympic ideals, staff and stakeholders speak of a more immediate horizon of challenges and difficulties that stem from a culture that is not aligned with the ideals that the organisation aspires to uphold.”
The review has urged the AOC to answer the question of “how it can play a leadership role as an organization in the Olympic family” while simultaneously “progressing the interests and ambitions of Australia”.
“As it happens, the majority of the AOC’s values are neither strongly nor consistently expressed in practice,” the report said.
“Indeed, the AOC values are not widely recognized by staff, nor do they resonate strongly with them.”
The report also said that the AOC should implement an organization-wide “culture plan” and should “manage the risk of poor culture” before it becomes a problem.