Leading interagency planning and collaboration in mass gatherings: public health and safety in the 2012 London Olympics

A. Bistaraki*, E. McKeown, Y. Kyratsis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: Planning and implementing public health initiatives in mass gatherings such as the Olympic Games pose unique challenges for interorganizational collaboration, which involves interaction among multiple and diverse agencies. Nonetheless, there is limited empirical evidence to support interagency collaboration and public health planning decisions in mass gatherings and how leadership can shape such interactions. We empirically explored these topics in the 2012 London Olympics to identify lessons to inform planning for future mass gatherings. Study design: This is a qualitative case study. Methods: Data comprised 39 semistructured interviews with key informants conducted before, during, and after the games; in addition, direct observations of field exercises and documentary analysis were also used. Open coding and thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. Results: We identified two main leadership challenges that influenced interagency collaboration: organizational public health leadership and coordinating collaborative decision-making. Two facilitative conditions helped overcome the previous challenges: nurturing interorganizational linkages and creating shared understanding by activating codified frameworks at the organizational level. Conclusions: Our study highlights leadership issues in interagency collaboration in mass gatherings. Practical implications arising from this study may inform the ways the organizers of mass gatherings, public health and safety agencies, and professionals can engage in effective partnerships and joint working.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
JournalPublic Health
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Interagency collaboration
  • Leadership
  • Mass gatherings
  • Olympic games
  • Public health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Leading interagency planning and collaboration in mass gatherings: public health and safety in the 2012 London Olympics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this