To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Mapping the future: 陰陽 (yin yang) career development collaboration

JoAnne Sparks (Library, Macquarie University, North Ryde, Australia)
Grace Saw (Formerly Library Services, Bond University, Robina, Australia)
Mary Davies (Formerly Information Services, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 10 November 2014




陰陽 (yinyáng in Pinyin) is about interconnectedness rather than opposites. The purpose of this paper is to highlight how collaboration connects and strengthens the efforts across the sector and reinforces how the sum of the parts is greater than any one university alone. This paper shares the experience of conducting a collaborative project with three universities. It illustrates the fine balancing act of collaboration (yin) with competition (yang) amongst three of Australia ' s higher education institutions at a national level, with the aim of contributing to the career development of professionals in the fields of library services and eResearch.


Bond University, University of Western Australia and Griffith University have collaborated to develop a career mapping toolkit which builds on an earlier commissioned project completed by Council of Australian IT Directors (CAUDIT) focusing on enterprise information technology roles. This tri-institutional collaborative project reviews in detail the skills, knowledge and abilities of library and eResearch management roles in the respective organisations.


This project has been hugely rewarding for the initial three project partners who worked and collaborated well together, successfully completing project goals within agreed timeframes. Looking forward, career pathing will become more widespread as managers receive the requisite training, take ownership of these activities and grow to fully realise the value and potential of active career management to team performance. Ultimately, the use of the career pathing toolkit will enhance career satisfaction of the individual which in turn will lift the productivity of the organisational unit.

Research limitations/implications

To ensure the ongoing viability of the career pathing toolkit, it is necessary to measure its relevance and effectiveness: each institution is confident in adopting/modifying the final product for internal use. This demonstrates confidence in the quality of the work produced by the other collaborators; adoption of the product by institutions which were not part of the initial collaboration; and willingness of another institution (not originally involved) to join the collaborative project and make a contribution.

Practical implications

The catalyst for collaboration between the three universities was realised when the authors saw an opportunity to address the important and pressing issue of career and workforce planning as a partnership project. The main objective for collaboration was to achieve a more comprehensive and speedier project outcome.

Social implications

This paper shares the outcomes of the project which illustrates the fine balancing act of collaboration (yin) with competition (yang) amongst three of Australia ' s higher education institutions at a national level, with the aim of contributing to the career development of professionals in the fields of library and eResearch.


The aim is to develop a toolkit that: catalogues and maps the core professional roles needed in the next two to three years in the respective institutions; and specifies the knowledge and experience required in each core professional area including where there is overlap. In essence, the career map provides a toolkit for identifying the knowledge areas and skills, abilities and competencies required for each core area (organised by career streams) and professional role.



The authors would like to acknowledge the following: Project Team: Bond University – Wendy Abbott, Dr Grace Saw (formerly Bond); Griffith University – Sanja Tadic, Carolyn McDonald, Dr Joanna Richardson and JoAnne Sparks (formerly Griffith); Sophie Kysil, Consulting Services (Project Manager); and University of Western Australia – Dr Mary Davies (formerly UWA), Catherine Clark, Dawn McLoughlin. Developers, Griffith University: Colin Morris, software developer of the career pathing tool; and Nicholas Caldwell, UI expert. Project Funding – University of Western Australia. CAUDIT for the CAUDIT career toolkit. For the kind support from UWA, Bond, Griffith and Macquarie Universities. Special thanks to Shruthi Sridhara, Sylvie Saab and Meredith Martinelli at Macquarie University.


Sparks, J., Saw, G. and Davies, M. (2014), "Mapping the future: 陰陽 (yin yang) career development collaboration", Library Management, Vol. 35 No. 8/9, pp. 629-644.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles