How to Manage Conflict in Sport and Entertainment Organizations

Shannon Kerwin

When Felicia was volunteering as the chair of the Transportation and Parking committee at the International Canoe Federation (ICF) Junior & U23 Canoe Sprint World Championships, she was placed in a role in which she had to make split-second decisions while the event was unfolding.  Because of this time-sensitive environment, she was not always able to make decisions that were congruent with the orders she received from her (paid) employee counterpart (i.e., the Director of Event Operations). While her decisions were task-related in that (for example) she was moving overflow parking to meet the demands of spectators, athletes, and the media, her supervisor routinely got upset and perceived the decisions Felicia was making as personal attacks on his decision-making authority at the event. Thus, a relationship conflict was born.