Legal Authority And Mandates: Conflict Intervention Case Study

Parties, interests and BATNAs

News Article: Public Dispute: Top Sport Administrators in Public Dispute at Melbourne Athletics Event 

Save Time On Research and Writing
Hire a Pro to Write You a 100% Plagiarism-Free Paper.
Get My Paper 

Chart:  Parties (aka stakeholders), their interests and their BATNAs



Save Time On Research and Writing
Hire a Pro to Write You a 100% Plagiarism-Free Paper.
Get My Paper


1. Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President, Vice President, IOC.  

1.Accuse of working against Wylie

2. Accused of trying to unseat Wylie

3. Accused of lying about it

4. Critic of Federal Government and ASC’s  Winning Edge sport funding strategy

5. IOC rules to AOC

The “Walking Away Point” for Coates is to be allowed to stem his authority without interference from Wylie based on his mandates as provided for under AOC and IOC rules and regulation. This will be based on his duties, legal authority and responsibilities as AOC chair and as  IOC Vice President

2. Australian Sports Commission (ASC) Chair, John Wylie

1. Retaining Chairmanship of ASC

2. Selection process for Summer and Winter Games’ Chief de Mission roles

3. Accused of having interest in Coates position and working with others to oust him   

The Walking Away Point for Wylie is to be allowed to stem his power without interferences to undertake his responsibilities and duties as outlined under ASC rules and regulation. This should be based on his duties, legal authority and responsibilities under ASC.  

The dispute falls on the highest extreme peak (sense of crisis emerges) of the unmanaged conflict. From the article, it is clear that this dispute went into a public confrontation at Nitro Athletics series event at the Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne on 11th March 2017. In fact, ABC reported that AOC President, John Coates even refused to shake hands with Wylie. It is reported that this led to an expletive-laden verbal clash from both sides.

Every other element in the spiral has been surpassed right from the emergence of problem to formation of sides through to hardening of positions and through communication stopping to commitment of resources and through distortion of perception. Indeed, the exchanges were reported as being extremely “highly confrontational” “uncomfortable” as well as “not pleasant”. The news has also reported that such exchanges will culminate to IOC suspending Australia from taking part at the Olympic Games. This clearly indicates that the conflict falls under the “sense of crisis emerges”. 

The intervention is to have the IOC spells out the boundaries of legal authority between Wylie and Coates. As indicated by Coates, it is the mandate of IOC to lay rules to AOC. It is clear also that requirement for IOC to approve AOC Constitution runs counter to principle of national sovereignty that underpins Corporation Act 2001 (Cth) and hence a barricade to AOC incorporating as a firm (Baan et al., 2014). There is a need to allow AOC to act as independent and autonomous. Therefore, IOC should come out and set the boundary legally to allow solve this public dispute since it is not the two parties that will lose but the athletes.

 Mediation is not always the best, or the only, process. Accordingly, intervention by IOC based on strict legal authority of two parties, Coates and Wylie. Therefore, mediation will not be fruitful in this case and will unlikely solve the dispute.  Accordingly, my process choice can be explained strongly by explaining why other possibilities would be less useful in this scenario (Insam et al., 2016). The process of intervention chosen in this scenario is effective since it will not be a win-win scenario which is majorly the focus of mediation. The required here does not look for a compromise but to stem the legal mandates and authority of the two parties as outlined by AOC, IOC and ASC Act, Laws, regulation and even rules (Campbell & O’Leary, 2015).  

The dispute on the spiral of unmanaged conflict

The causes of dispute are based on counter accusations. For example, Coates has accused Wylie of working against him, attempting to unseat him from his long-held position the highest ranking Olympic of official from Australia. He has also accused of Wylie of lying when asked about his allegations (Silvetti et al., 2014). Coates has further been a longtime critic of Federal Government as well as ASC’s Winning Edge sporting funding strategy. He even gone further and criticize the program as well as performance of athletes of Australia during the Rio’s Olympics.

It has further been sparked by Wylie’s letter to Coates suggesting a “restoration” of working relationship between their respective organizations. Wylie posited that they had several areas of mutual interest alongside benefit in their working together (Baillien et al., 2014). He further held that there was a need for additional strong need for increased funding for every level of sport in Australia, from Paralympic and Olympic high performance through to the grassroots community participation.

Nevertheless, Coates’ apparent concern at a suggestion from his rival was that the process of selection for Summer as well as Winter Games’ Chef de Mission roles be dealt with as a partnering between them in a transparent process engaging consideration of an array of candidates in his fifteen-page letter that was published in the Website of AOC (Jiang et al., 2014).

Coates felt Wylie was overstepping his authority and attempting to undermine the AOC’s role by feeling that Wylie was trying to manipulate the free elections of AOC. Accordingly, he stressed to Coates that it is only the IOC which has the mandate to lay down the rules to AOC (Adan & Pkalya, 2014). High profile sports administrators attributed the dispute to the fear by Coates that Wylie was working with other sport bodies’ heads to oust him from the position Coates has held for almost thirty years.

The above causes can be attributable to a show of might which can be addressed by legally outlining the limits of legal authority each of the conflicting parties. The law should be clear and known to the two gentlemen and where one is overstepping his mandates, it should be curtailed by both government and IOC. The issues of unseating each other should never be mixed with the legal authority given to both Wylie and Coates (Beitler et al., 2016). They should battle for this seats but should not use their positions to cause undue influence which only trickles down to hurt the athletes.

Intervention approach: Legal Authority and Mandates

The selected intervention(s) is likely to resolve this dispute and perhaps stop similar forthcoming disputes. This is because, it will show clearly what legal authority limitations are as entrenched in the law, rules and regulations of the ASC, AOC and IOC. This will solve the problem without a need for a compromise from any party and hence solve the current dispute (Einarsen et al., 2016). It will bar any future dispute of this kind since it will outline these legal authority limits and act as the precedent for further office holders. Since it will be legally solved, there will be further clash as each person will have clearly defined roles and duties to undertake without overstepping his authority.  

The primary reason for choosing this intervention above other possible interventions is that most of the interventions focuses on a win-win mechanism while this intervention does not hinge on compromise or win-win situation (Bradley at al., 2015). This intervention gives the best solution faster compared to mediation and other intervention which take prolonged period which might hurt other stakeholders like athletes unreasonably. Further, the approach is entrenched on law and legal backings and hence it will give the best precedent to bar any further conflict of similar kind.


Bradley, B.H., Anderson, H.J., Baur, J.E., & Klotz, A.C. (2015). When conflict helps: Integrating evidence for beneficial conflict in groups and teams under three perspectives. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 19(4), p.243.

Einarsen, S., Skogstad, A., Rørvik, E., Lande, Å.B., & Nielsen, M.B. (2016). Climate for conflict management, exposure to workplace bullying and work engagement: a moderated mediation analysis. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, pp.1-22.

Beitler, L.A., Beitler, L.A., Machowski, S., Machowski, S., Johnson, S., Johnson, S., Zapf, D., & Zapf, D. (2016). Conflict management and age in service professions. International Journal of Conflict Management, 27(3), pp.302-330.

Adan, M., & Pkalya, R. (2014). Conflict Management in Kenya-Towards Policy and Strategy Formulation.

Jiang, J.J., Chang, J.Y., Chen, H.G., Wang, E.T., & Klein, G. (2014). Achieving IT program goals with integrative conflict management. Journal of Management Information Systems, 31(1), pp.79-106.

Baillien, E., Bollen, K., Euwema, M., & De Witte, H. (2014). Conflicts and conflict management styles as precursors of workplace bullying: A two-wave longitudinal study. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 23(4), pp.511-524.

Silvetti, M., Alexander, W., Verguts, T., & Brown, J.W. (2014). From conflict management to reward-based decision making: actors and critics in primate medial frontal cortex. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 46, pp.44-57.

Insam, A., Huebner, D., Briem, J., Hanft, N., & Stipanowich, T. (2016). Promoting Conflict-Competent Leadership and Holistic Conflict Management. Pepp. Disp. Resol. LJ, 16, p.233.

Baan, C., Bergmüller, R., Smith, D.W., & Molnar, B. (2014). Conflict management in free-ranging wolves, Canis lupus. Animal Behaviour, 90, pp.327-334.

Campbell, K., & O’Leary, R. (2015). Big Ideas for Big Problems: Lessons from Conflict Resolution for Public Administration. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 33(S1), pp.S107-S119.