Strategic competence: to soar above

Anne Horn (Deakin University, Geelong, Australia)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Publication date: 10 January 2008



The purpose of this paper is to discuss the case for change at Deakin University Library and the change process adopted, and to explore organisational competences and the structural and strategic outcomes achieved. The Library's change process was driven by university strategic priorities and financial exigencies.


Change management theory is drawn on to illustrate that the change process adopted is influenced by the state of the organisation and the state of urgency. Four steps are outlined that encapsulate the process developed by the Library. These four steps draw on a book by Kotter and Rathberger, Our Iceberg Is Melting. The concept of strategic organisational competences as proposed by Thomson and Cole is adopted.


The case study demonstrates the need to take a structural and strategic view of the organisation when developing new models of service and ways of operating. An organisation needs to develop the capacity to manage both continuous and discontinuous change. The change process has delivered improvements to the Library's strategic and functional capabilities, as well as sustainable cost savings. Client satisfaction surveys indicate the quality of service provision has not diminished.


The paper proposes a change process that may suit other organisations. It advocates a simple conceptualisation of the process that will aid communication with key stakeholders. Further, to achieve the desired strategic and structural outcomes, it is critical to assess the strategic competence of the organisation.



Horn, A. (2008), "Strategic competence: to soar above", Library Management, Vol. 29 No. 1/2, pp. 5-17.

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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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