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ERIC Number: ED547941
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 388
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2674-2734-2
Assigned Leaders in Unionized Environments: Coping with the Economic Recession and Its Aftermath in Academic Libraries
Lim, Adriene
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Simmons College
Despite the fact that the rate of unionism has grown in institutions of higher education over the past several decades, and the recent economic recession occurred at the same time that academic libraries faced accelerating changes in scholarly communication and technology, increased demands for accountability, and heightened external competition, few research studies existed in the current literature of library and information science about the changes that have occurred in unionized libraries and in their assigned leaders' ability to transform their organizations. This dissertation begins to fill the void through a multiple-case study of four academic libraries, where the perspectives of university and library administrators were considered in relation to: (1) changes occurring in unionized libraries as a result of the economic crisis; (2) the effects of unionization on assigned leaders' attempts to handle the crisis; (3) the benefits and constraints that library administrators encounter as a result of working within unionized contexts during economic recessions; and (4) the strategies used for handling changes in unionized, financially stressed environments. Before, during, and after the recession, the libraries in this dissertation experienced severe and/or chronic budget challenges, reduced capacity, and the threat or actuality of organizational decline and retrenchment. Library administrators continued to be optimistic, however, about their libraries' performance levels, and were implementing new and enhanced services. They believed that innovative thinking, paired with resourcefulness, helped the libraries adapt to reduced funding and staffing. They also used strategic visioning and planning, communication, transparency, team leadership, and shared or participatory leadership as organizational change strategies. Administrators believed that the negative effects of unionization were amplified in times of economic crisis, but agreed that the backdrop of fiscal scarcity made it easier for them to carry out necessary change initiatives. The case study sites exhibited different organizational responses to unionization and the economic recession, but shared several themes in common. Unionization brought human resource-related benefits and constraints to library administrators, and removed some administrative autonomy, while at the same time demanded strong managerial leadership to ensure appropriate administration of collective bargaining agreements and transformational change. Unionization seemed to be associated with more shared leadership at the libraries, but co-existed with cultures that could be adversarial and caste-laden. Unionization also appeared to have had an impact on the structural values of the libraries; stability and control seemed to have been emphasized over flexibility and adaptability. Other insights about the role of library leaders in countering decline and using cutback management tactics were obtained through the use of models from the literatures of the organizational sciences, management, and public administration. This study raised several important issues and questions, including but not limited to: the need for further research about unionization in relation to the education of current and future academic library leaders; organizational cultures, dysfunctions, and effectiveness; external fundraising and entrepreneurship; resiliency in leadership; and administrative strength and accountability. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A