Leadership and followership in public libraries: transnational perspectives

John Mullins (Cork City Library, Cork, Ireland)
Margaret Linehan (Department of Adult and Continuing Education, Cork Institute of Technology, Cork, Ireland)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Publication date: 1 December 2005

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the topic of leadership as perceived and described by public library leaders. In particular, the paper seeks to investigate the reported impact of public library leaders on their followers. The study aims to develop an understanding of the perceptions of current leaders in the field of public librarianship.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 30 top‐level public librarians from Ireland, the UK, and the east coast of the USA were selected for inclusion in this study. A review of the relevant literature was used to design an interview guide which was used to conduct structured in‐depth face‐to‐face interviews.

Findings

The findings illustrate that the leaders believe that followers are motivated by example from their leaders. The interviewed librarians highlight the role played by followers, whom they see as the foundation of public library service. The librarians argue that a partnership approach between leaders and followers is necessary to formulate and to put into effect strategies and courses of action to fulfil organizational purpose and goals.

Originality/value

The current study is the most in‐depth study to date on this topic, drawing on face‐to‐face interviews with 30 public library leaders. Prior to this study, no in‐depth study on the topic of leadership in librarianship has been researched and published outside of North America. As this study was undertaken in three national jurisdictions – Ireland, UK, and the USA, it is also the first transnational study on the topic.

Keywords

Citation

Mullins, J. and Linehan, M. (2005), "Leadership and followership in public libraries: transnational perspectives", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 18 No. 7, pp. 641-647. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513550510624095

Download as .RIS

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, 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.