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The growing use of teams to accomplish work in libraries has brought qualitative changes to the nature of work and leadership in library organizations. Collaborative work…
The growing use of teams to accomplish work in libraries has brought qualitative changes to the nature of work and leadership in library organizations. Collaborative work in team-based organizations and the rise of distributed leadership require different skills from traditional, hierarchically structured workplaces. The literature on team skills provides insight and direction for library human resources management practices. Growing research on emotional intelligence in the workplace also provides new guidance for selection and personnel practices. The literature in these areas can help library organizations more effectively select those who have the attributes needed to be successful in this new environment. It can also help library organizations shape training and developmental opportunities to enhance these critically needed skills.
The Morgan Library at Colorado State University in Fort Collins suffered catastrophic flooding as the result of a historic rain storm and flood that swept through the town…
The Morgan Library at Colorado State University in Fort Collins suffered catastrophic flooding as the result of a historic rain storm and flood that swept through the town on July 28, 1997. This study examines this single library's organizational disaster response and identifies the phenomena that the library's employees cited as their motivation for innovation.
Purpose – This study provides an example of a library where a pre-disaster and post-disaster organizational environment was supportive of experimentation. This influenced the employees’ capacity and motivation to create a new tool meant to solve a temporary need. Their invention, a service now called RapidILL, advanced the Morgan Library organization beyond disaster recovery and has become an effective and popular consortium of libraries.
Design/methodology/approach – This is an instrumental case study. This design was chosen to examine the issues in organizational learning that the single case of Morgan Library presents. The researcher interviewed employees who survived the 1997 flood and who worked in the library after the disaster. The interview results and a book written by staff members are the most important data that form the basis for this qualitative research.
The interviews were transcribed, and key phrases and information from both the interviews and the published book were isolated into themes for coding. The coding allowed the use of NVivo 7, a text analysis software, to search in employees’ stories for “feeling” words and themes about change, innovation, motivation, and mental models.
Three research questions for the study sought to learn how employees described their lived experience, how the disaster altered their mental models of change, and what factors in the disaster response experience promoted learning and innovation.
Findings – This study investigates how the disruptive forces of disaster can influence and promote organizational learning and foster innovation. Analysis of the data demonstrates how the library employees’ feelings of trust before and following a workplace disaster shifted their mental models of change. They felt empowered to act and assert their own ideas; they did not simply react to change acting upon them.
Emotions motivate adaptive actions, facilitating change. The library employees’ lived experiences and feelings influenced what they learned, how quickly they learned it, and how that learning contributed to their innovations after the disaster. The library's supervisory and administrative leaders encouraged staff members to try out new ideas. This approach invigorated staff members’ feelings of trust and motivated them to contribute their efforts and ideas. Feeling free to experiment, they tapped their creativity and provided adaptations and innovations.
Practical implications – A disaster imposes immediate and often unanticipated change upon people and organizations. A disaster response urgently demands that employees do things differently; it also may require that employees do different things.
Successful organizations must become adept at creating and implementing changes to remain relevant and effective in the environments in which they operate. They need to ensure that employees generate and test as many ideas as possible in order to maximize the opportunity to uncover the best new thinking. This applies to libraries as well as to any other organizations.
If library leaders understand the conditions under which employees are most motivated to let go of fear and alter the mental models they use to interpret their work world, it should be possible and desirable to re-create those conditions and improve the ability of their organizations to tap into employees’ talent, spur innovation, and generate meaningful change.
Social implications – Trust and opportunities for learning can be central to employees’ ability to embrace change as a positive state in which their creativity flourishes and contributes to the success of the organization. When leaders support experimentation, employees utilize and value their affective connections as much as their professional knowledge. Work environments that promote experimentation and trust are ones in which employees at any rank feel secure enough to propose and experiment with innovative services, products, or workflows.
Originality/value – The first of its kind to examine library organizations, this study offers direct evidence to show that organizational learning and progress flourish through a combination of positive affective experiences and experimentation. The study shows how mental models, organizational learning, and innovation may help employees create significantly effective organizational advances while under duress.
An original formula is presented in Fig. 1.
As a result of rapid environmental changes, organisations of all types are rethinking their organisational structures in an attempt to provide greater effectiveness and…
As a result of rapid environmental changes, organisations of all types are rethinking their organisational structures in an attempt to provide greater effectiveness and efficiency. A few years ago business process re‐engineering (BPR) was considered the most promising way to restructure an organisation, but has become less popular as shortcomings associated with the process have become evident. Today, greater emphasis is being placed upon modifying the actual organisational structure. Most restructured organisations have moved away from rigid hierarchies to flatter, more flexible structures. Many of the same forces (including increased automation, changing information needs and expectations of users, reduced budgets and the need for staff to have more autonomy over their own work) that have precipitated the reshaping of other organisations have also affected academic libraries. This paper describes some of the factors leading to changes in the organisational structures of academic libraries and provides an overview of trends, excluding convergence, discernible in North America. The paper includes suggestions for steps to be taken to facilitate successful reorganisations, and comments on possible future developments that might radically alter the organisational structures of academic libraries.
Suggests that, in a rapidly changing environment, it is necessaryto monitor and adapt to those developments which influence managerialdecisions and operational procedures…
Suggests that, in a rapidly changing environment, it is necessary to monitor and adapt to those developments which influence managerial decisions and operational procedures. Sees strategic planning as a powerful management tool, which is a holistic approach encompassing not only the intended mission of an organization, but also the human resource planning and development necessary to fulfil that mission. Analyses the application of strategic planning in the library and information field, with particular reference to the special library, although the ideology is relevant to all sectors. Presents two case studies which highlight the areas of management reviews and the marketing of library services.
This publication is based on a research thesis which examined self‐help ethnic minority organisations and their activities in order to construct an accurate picture of the…
This publication is based on a research thesis which examined self‐help ethnic minority organisations and their activities in order to construct an accurate picture of the library and information needs of their members. It identified the kinds of co‐operation that existed between self‐help ethnic minority organisations and public libraries and other relevant official agencies. A series of models for co‐operation that could take place between public libraries, other relevant agencies and self‐help organisations was constructed.
The purpose of thi s paper is to describe how libraries are under increasing pressure to become learning organisations for better knowledge management and to cultivate a…
The purpose of thi s paper is to describe how libraries are under increasing pressure to become learning organisations for better knowledge management and to cultivate a culture of continuing learning to cope with both current and future changes in the organisations in which they exist.
Literature review and authors” experiences in academic libraries in east and southern Africa.
Learning organisations” role includes knowledge creation, sharing and dissemination and the ability to effectively operate in an increasingly digital environment.
Academic libraries are undergoing tremendous transformations due in part to new technologies, customer expectations, competitive pressures, evolving knowledge‐intensive organisations, and the changing roles of librarians. Academic libraries can be considered as learning organisations involved in intensive generation of knowledge and must operate competitively in order to satisfy customer needs and be able to deal with the challenges and opportunities of the digital environment.
Academic libraries have long been acknowledged as the heart of the institution in which they reside. As a result, they are confronted with challenges and opportunities in the digital environment which they must fully understand as learning organisations in order to redefine and effectively perform their roles.
Mentoring is a concept that originated between 800 and 700 BC and which is still in existence in organisations irrespective of size, nature of ownership, type of industry or geographic location. In its most primal form it is regarded as a method according to which a less experienced employee (protégé or mentee) is guided and advised by a more experienced and skilled employee (mentor) in terms of life as well as professional skills. However, this definition has developed over time as organisations applied mentoring in a more structured manner and institutionalised it within formal organisational processes. Mentoring was, therefore, regarded as a method to “systematically develop the skills and leadership abilities of less experienced members of the organization” (SPA Consultants, 1995, p. 14). Mentoring has been in use within the library and information science profession from the mid-1980s and various publications have discussed the use of mentoring from an American, Australian and British perspective. However, relatively few publications are available regarding the use of mentoring within the South African contexts, and therefore an extensive discussion on the implementation of a structured mentoring scheme at the National Library of South Africa (NLSA) is included in the article. This study draws particularly on recent literature on the knowledge economy and more specifically knowledge management to suggest ways in which the concept of mentoring should be revised. Mentoring should henceforth be seen as a knowledge management technique to support the creation and sharing of tacit knowledge rather than merely a technique to develop less experienced individuals. This revised view of mentoring is of particular importance to ensure the sustainability of library and information service organisations in the knowledge economy.
This research highlights the scenarios that might serve as a strategic vision to describe a future beyond the current library, one which both guides provosts and creates a…
This research highlights the scenarios that might serve as a strategic vision to describe a future beyond the current library, one which both guides provosts and creates a map for the transformation of human resources and technology in the university research libraries. The scenarios offer managerial leaders an opportunity to envision new roles for librarians and staff which brings a much needed focus on the development of human resources as well as a thought-stream to understand decisions which effectively and systematically move the organization toward a strategic vision.
These scenarios also outline possible future directions research libraries could take by focusing on perspectives from library directors, provosts, and administrators for human resources. The four case study scenarios introduce potential future roles for librarians and highlight the unsustainability of the current scholarly communications model as well as uncertain factors related to the political, social, technical, and demographic issues facing campuses. Given the changes institutions face, scenarios allow directors to include more uncertainty when developing and articulating a vision. These scenarios may start a discussion, before a strategic planning process, to sharpen the evaluations and measures necessary to monitor achievements that define the value of the library.
This exploratory study, a Ph.D. dissertation completed at the University of Western Ontario in 2013, examines the materially embedded relations of power between library…
This exploratory study, a Ph.D. dissertation completed at the University of Western Ontario in 2013, examines the materially embedded relations of power between library users and staff in public libraries and how building design regulates spatial behavior according to organizational objectives. It considers three public library buildings as organization spaces (Dale & Burrell, 2008) and determines the extent to which their spatial organizations reproduce the relations of power between the library and its public that originated with the modern public library building type ca. 1900. Adopting a multicase study design, I conducted site visits to three, purposefully selected public library buildings of similar size but various ages. Site visits included: blueprint analysis; organizational document analysis; in-depth, semi-structured interviews with library users and library staff; cognitive mapping exercises; observations; and photography.
Despite newer approaches to designing public library buildings, the use of newer information technologies, and the emergence of newer paradigms of library service delivery (e.g., the user-centered model), findings strongly suggest that the library as an organization still relies on many of the same socio-spatial models of control as it did one century ago when public library design first became standardized. The three public libraries examined show spatial organizations that were designed primarily with the librarian, library materials, and library operations in mind far more than the library user or the user’s many needs. This not only calls into question the public library’s progressiveness over the last century but also hints at its ability to survive in the new century.
Changes in the format of library materials, increased amounts of information, and the speed at which information is being produced have created an unrelenting need for training for library staff members. Additionally, library employees are retiring in greater numbers and their accompanying expertise is being lost. The purpose of this study was to document evaluation practices currently used in library training and continuing education programs for library employees, including metrics used in calculating return-on-investment (ROI). This research project asked 272 library training professionals to identify how they evaluate training, what kind of training evaluation practices are in place, how they select programs to evaluate for ROI, and what criteria are important in determining an effective method for calculating ROI.