Evaluating the Organizational Challenges at the Tokyo Olympics


After a year-long postponement, Tokyo hosted the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games through late July and early August 2021, opening Japan’s borders for the first time since shutdowns began the previous year. But the ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic (and the resurgence of cases due to the Delta variant) presented some unique organizational challenges, such as mitigating the mass exodus of volunteers earlier in the year, operating through labor shortages, and, most importantly, maintaining COVID protocols to keep everyone involved healthy and safe. This case asks students to examine the organizational obstacles in carrying out the Olympics and how they might affect strategy and planning for future games.

This case was prepared for inclusion in SAGE Business Cases primarily as a basis for classroom discussion or self-study, and is not meant to illustrate either effective or ineffective management styles. Nothing herein shall be deemed to be an endorsement of any kind. This case is for scholarly, educational, or personal use only within your university, and cannot be forwarded outside the university or used for other commercial purposes.

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