Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Redefining the Twenty-First Century College Library: Change Leadership in Academic Libraries
by Kreitz, Patricia A., Ph.D., Simmons College, 2015, 318; 3715613
Abstract (Summary)

Academic libraries and their parent institutions are experiencing increasing social, technological, economic, and political pressure in the twenty-first century. While the academic library literature contains numerous discussions and case studies illuminating how larger academic libraries are engaging in organizational change and experimentation to respond to those pressures, libraries in smaller academic institutions are underrepresented in those professional discussions.

This study examines liberal arts college libraries engaged in transformational change. It explores ways academic libraries are aligning their purpose and services with the missions, strategic priorities, and challenges of their parent institutions. Through four case studies, it examines how library directors create change visions, enroll staff and stakeholders in those visions, and the skills, tools, and strategies they use to lead and manage organizational change.

Data were collected using narrative inquiry, a qualitative methodology. Participants included library directors, provosts, and senior management team members. After analyzing the data, two organizational change theories were applied. The first theory focuses on what was changed—the antecedents and consequences. The second organizational change theory focuses on how the change was done—strategies, tools, and actions.

Data analysis reveals several findings. Directors who employed the greatest range of political intelligence, emotional intelligence, and transformational leadership skills were the most successful in creating lasting, radical organizational change. They were also most likely to align that change with the mission and needs of the colleges they served. Directors who used frame bending rather than frame breaking approaches to envisioning and communicating change were more successful in enrolling both library staff and academic stakeholders in their change strategies and change goals.

The results of this study contribute to an understanding of how smaller college libraries are leading and managing change. The findings identify potential obstacles to successful change and provide examples of strategies used by other change leaders to mitigate or surmount those obstacles. Those findings may be of value to other academic library change leaders. Finally, this study also identifies change leadership skills and strategies that were effective within the unique environment of academic institutions which have a decentralized environment, distributed power and authority, and a shared allegiance to the organization's history and culture.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Saunders, Laura, Cloonan, Michele
School: Simmons College
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: DAI-A 76/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Library science, Management, Occupational psychology, Higher education
Keywords: Case studies, Change leadership, Contextual intelligence, Narrative inquiry, Organizational change, Transformational leadership
Publication Number: 3715613
ISBN: 9781321938579
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