Leading for gold: social identity leadership processes at the London 2012 Olympic Games

Matthew J. Slater*, Jamie B. Barker, Pete Coffee, Marc V. Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


This paper adopted a social identity approach to explore the media data of leadership figures at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Media data in the form of interviews, speeches/team announcements, and blog posts from leaders integral to the London 2012 Olympic Games were analysed from 100 days prior to, during, and for 30 days following, the Olympic Games. Leaders included Lord Seb Coe, Andy Hunt, and performance directors of TeamGB athletics (Charles van Commenee), cycling (Sir David Brailsford), rowing (David Tanner) and swimming (Michael Scott). An inductive and deductive thematic analysis identified five higher order themes: creation of team identities, team values, team vision, performance consequences and ‘we’ achieved. The analysis makes a contribution to extant leadership literature by highlighting novel contextually relevant themes surrounding leadership at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Thus, opportunities for future research and application are outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-209
Number of pages18
JournalQualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2015


  • group dynamics
  • leaders
  • media data
  • peak performance
  • qualitative inquiry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Leading for gold: social identity leadership processes at the London 2012 Olympic Games'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this