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Employees as customers judging quality: enhancing employee assessment

John B. Harer (Department of Library Science and Instructional Technology, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 18 July 2008




The purpose of this paper is to investigate current practices in employee satisfaction assessment to determine if quality in the production of library services and work systems are being assessed from the employees' perspective. It is grounded in the theoretical perspective that customers judge quality and that employees are internal customers, equally important to assessment efforts as are external customers. The paper argues that employees provide a unique perspective to the assessment of quality that external customers cannot provide and that quality assessment needs to be an additional form of employee assessment from that of employee satisfaction or organizational climate initiatives.


A content analysis of measures in organizational climate surveys gathered from the Association of Research Libraries was performed. Each item of several organizational climate surveys was analyzed for words and phrases identified as associated with quality assessment. Conclusions were made based on this analysis.


Each of the organizational climate surveys examined included some measures of quality, though there was no consistent focus on quality. Quality issues in these surveys included sharing skills, work load issues, and alignment with library vision and mission.

Research limitations/implications

This is the first part of an ongoing research project. The next steps include content analysis of employee satisfaction instruments and a Delphi study of quality measures gleaned from this analysis.


The paper contends that quality assessment is different than employee satisfaction assessment, but significantly enhances employee assessment in general – providing benefits to both the library and its employees.



Harer, J.B. (2008), "Employees as customers judging quality: enhancing employee assessment", New Library World, Vol. 109 No. 7/8, pp. 307-320.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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