Using Kidder's dilemma paradigm to resolve conflicts in library core values

Wanda V. Dole (Ottenheimer Library, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Arkansas, USA)
Jitka M. Hurych (Northern Illinois University Libraries, DeKalb, Illinois, USA)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Publication date: 2 October 2009



The purpose of this paper is to identify core values commonly held by library and information professionals and discusses whether Rushworth Kidder's concept of dilemma paradigms may be used to analyze and resolve conflicts between the right to access to information and other core values. Kidder identifies two types of dilemmas: “right‐versus‐wrong” and “right‐versus‐right”. He defines “right‐versus‐right” dilemmas as those that “however complex and varied, typically reduce themselves to one or more of the following dilemma paradigms: Truth versus Loyalty, Self versus Community, Short Term versus Long Term and Justice versus Mercy.”


The paper discusses Kidder's theory and applies it to several situations or scenarios reported by practicing librarians.


The analysis of the scenarios highlights the complex nature of dilemmas faced by library and information professionals.

Research limitations/implications

The scenarios are limited in number and drawn from only one country. The authors recommend more research on the application of Kidder's theory to authentic library scenarios.


There is little discussion of Kidder in library literature. Despite the limitations, this paper will introduce librarians to dilemma paradigms as one possible tool for resolving conflicts.



Dole, W. and Hurych, J. (2009), "Using Kidder's dilemma paradigm to resolve conflicts in library core values", New Library World, Vol. 110 No. 9/10, pp. 449-456.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.