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A comparative study of organisational structure changes in higher education institutions libraries between UK and Taiwan

Liao, Shiow-Man (2004). A comparative study of organisational structure changes in higher education institutions libraries between UK and Taiwan. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University)


Over the past two decades (1980s and 1990s), changes in environmental factors demanded that higher education institutions should be managed more efficiently. It is necessary for library administrators to evaluate their organisational structures in order to meet their customers' rising expectation and parent institutions' vision, mission, and strategy for future development. The purpose of this study was to examine the extent oflibrary reorganisation within the UK and Taiwan universities, and the principal differences and similarities on organisational structure changes between 1985 and 2001. This study was a population study. This study was composed of two surveys (the initial survey and the follow-up survey) in the two countries. Quantitative data was gathered though a questionnaire.

The researcher investigated general aspects of library reorganisation, then focused specific on eight research problems and conducted comparison between the UK and Taiwan. Thirteen hypotheses centered on the issues concerning organisational structure changes were tested. Of the thirteen hypotheses, some were supported by the study and others were not. Comparisons were made among organisational charts during this IS-year period.

The main findings are: (1) The extent of library reorganisation for the two countries was high over the IS-year period (1985-2001). However, there had been an overall decline during the follow-up survey period. If the non-respondents represented a biassed set (they all had not conducted organisational structure change), then the extent of change in the two countries was actually not so high. The plans of organisational change will continue with 30% respondents from UK and 24% from Taiwan in the follow-up survey were considering the possibility. (2) There was no significant relationship between the extent of the library reorganisation and the selected background of libraries studied. (3) Of the environmental factors responsible for organisational structure changes, Service reasons and management reasons played the top two major roles. Economic and technological influences on organisational change declined over the survey time. 'Changes in higher Education', 'the development of digitized collection/digital library', 'change in human expectations', and 'changes in scholarly publishing/communication' became the important reasons for changes in the follow-up survey period. (4) Most of the libraries conducted internally reorganisation rather than externally. The top two methods adopted in internal reorganisation were: 'creating new functions/departments/units', and 'combination of functions'. Convergence activities were only reported by several responding libraries, the results showed that the extent of convergence activities seemed increased with time. The major reasons for the convergence were: shared vision; to pursue a more effective administration; to cooperate in supporting teaching, research, and learning; overlapping missions and strategies; exchanges of specialization between organisations; more economic administration; to cooperate in development of digital resources and digital collection; sharing of staff, facilities, and equipment. (5) After reorganisation, most university libraries in the UK adopted hierarchical structure and based on a combined functional/subject-based pattern. Team-based structure was the second favorite. Almost all respondents' libraries in Taiwan preferred a hierarchical structure and based on a functional pattern, however, 'teamwork' concept was adopted by some libraries. (6) The new organisations mostly emphasized user services, integration of the management of varied resources in libraries, and technological support. (7) The management levels of libraries in the UK tended to be flatter after reorganisation. However, most of the libraries in Taiwan retained the same management level after reorganisation. (8) The title of library managers within UK universities became more versatile after reorganisation. However, most of the library managers in Taiwan retained the same title even after reorganisation. (9) The considered important challenges of organisational change were: 'the parent institutional climate'; 'managerial support within and outside the library'; 'the climate of the libraries'; 'the staff strengths and weaknesses'; 'staff attitudes towards change'; 'the attitude of library directors'. (10) The results of library reorganisation have been mostly positive, and have provided lessons in organisational change from which other libraries may benefit.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z719 Libraries (General)
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > Library & Information Science
School of Communication & Creativity > School of Communication & Creativity Doctoral Theses
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