The emergence of Internet and Web technologies is not only changing the way people search for information, but also the way information is being published and disseminated (Jantz, 2012). Accordingly, to maintain their status as major information providers, libraries are using new technologies for delivering their services (vanDuinkerken & Mosley, 2011). Library 2.0 is a revolutionary concept that focuses on user-centred changes, through the use of Web 2.0 tools such as: selective dissemination of information (SDI), forums, social networks, electronic newsletters, enhanced online public access catalogues (e-OPAC), and virtual references. However, this concept is not just about implementing technology; it implies a significant paradigm shift, requiring rethinking and changing traditional library processes and services. Unfortunately, traditional management practices, poor planning activities, lack of management focus, and lack of involvement of important stakeholders may hinder Library 2.0 deployment (Munatsi, 2010). Therefore, to carry out such deep changes, good leadership is key.
Riggs (2001) posits that traditionally, libraries have been over-managed and under-led. This means that although libraries have been well managed, leadership has been pushed aside and overlooked. The words “leadership” and “management” are often erroneously used interchangeably (Riggs, 2001). In fact, management and leadership are fundamentally different skills; management is related to performing existing practices in an adequate and efficient way, while leadership is defined as setting, motivating and aligning people with a new direction (Kotter, 1996). Therefore, Library 2.0, a philosophy of continuous changes, demands that leadership no longer be ignored and requires library managers or administrators to rethink the way they lead (Riggs, 2001). In this article, the term “library manager” is used to refer to a director or the formal position of authority.
The study of library leadership has increased significantly in the last years. Although different qualities of effective leaders have been identified, transformational leadership has been found as more effective in managing libraries coping with complex changes (Castiglione, 2006; Jantz, 2012; McGuigan, 2012). Transformational leadership motivates followers to go beyond their own interests and move closer towards the organizational interests (Yukl, 2013).
Library managers have considerable impact on library change; however, different stakeholders, such as university authorities and library staff, also have a strong influence on these changes (López & Vargas, 2012; Solís & López, 2000; Stavridis & Tsimpoglou, 2012). In fact, the internal culture, structure and decision-making of the academic libraries are also influenced by the ‘mother’ organizational culture (vanDuinkerken & Mosley, 2011). Nevertheless, most library leadership literature focuses on the leader-follower relationship (Tam & Robertson, 2002; Williamson, 2008), which limits the understanding of the relationships among library managers and other university actors.
The aim of this article, therefore, is to highlight the role of library managers in implementing Library 2.0, by focusing on their leadership style, and stakeholder management practices. The combination of these two essential tasks has not, to our knowledge, been studied before in this context. To do so, the experiences acquired during six years of attempted change in an academic library in Latin America have been analysed. This academic library was selected as it belongs to one of the most prestigious universities, and is considered one of the most modern and largest libraries of its country. The subsequent section recalls briefly the main theoretical ideas concerning leadership and stakeholder management in change (§2), followed by a description of the procedures used in this study (§3), leading to the delineation of its findings (§4), discussion (§5) and conclusions (§6).
2. Literature review
There is a plethora of transformational leadership and stakeholder management literature from business arenas. However, according to vanDuinkerken and Mosley (2011), it is still difficult to understand how to apply these insights to the library environment and, more precisely, to academic libraries.
2.1. Transformational leadership in academic library change
Bass (1990) suggests that leaders who exhibit transformational behaviours can influence followers to go beyond their own interests and move towards the organizational interests. In fact, during changes in academic libraries, transformational leadership has been found in several case studies to be more effective than other leadership styles, such as transactional and laissez-faire leadership (Castiglione, 2006; Jantz, 2012; McGuigan, 2012).
- Idealized influence
- Inspirational motivation
- Intellectual stimulation and
- Individualized consideration
Bass and Riggio (2006), and Kouzes and Posner (2012) describe these four dimensions more in detail. For instance, idealized influence is defined as serving as role models for perseverance and self-sacrifice; leaders are admired, respected and trusted. Inspirational motivation provides an appealing vision, and stipulates how the team can achieve the desired future. Intellectual stimulation encourages followers to be innovative and creative by analysing issues from a new perspective. Finally, individualized consideration means to pay attention to each individual’s needs and desires, including coaching, supporting and a two-way exchange communication. Jantz (2012) in his study concludes that transformational styles empower librarians to create a more innovative environment, and Castiglione (2006) points out that organizational learning and adaptation are encouraged by transformational behaviours.
Transformational leadership is often explained in relation to transactional leadership. The latter, also known as managerial leadership is mainly defined as an exchange process in which leaders “promise and deliver rewards to employees for carrying out assignments” (Bass, 1990, p. 30). According to Crosby (1996), transactional leadership focuses on managing the status quo with emphasis on managing subordinates by standard work, establishing well-defined processes, and managing through accomplishable tasks. Transactional leadership is characterized by two leadership behaviours: active management by exception, and contingent reward. Active management by exception is defined in terms of looking for and dealing with irregularities, mistakes, exceptions and deviations to ensure that standards are met (Antonakis, Avolio, & Sivasubramaniam, 2003; Bass, 1990). Contingent reward refers to leader behaviours that focus on both the clarification of expectations and task requirements, and offers the recognition of followers when goals are achieved (Antonakis et al., 2003; Bass, 1990).
Avolio and Bass (1991) added to their initial theory the laissez-faire or passive leadership style, which is associated with laissez-faire and passive management by exception. Laissez-faire – or “no leadership” is the absence of effective leadership, avoiding decision-making, abdicating responsibilities, and not using their authority. This leadership behaviour can be considered active to the extent that leaders choose to avoid taking actions (Antonakis et al., 2003). Passive management by exception is characterized by responding passively and reactively to situations and problems systematically. For instance, library managers displaying passive leadership behaviours, expect librarians to solve problems on their own without his/her direct supervision. Moreover, laissez-faire leaders do not provide a vision to be achieved by followers (Avolio & Bass, 1991).
Bass (1990) considers that every leader displays each of the three aforementioned styles to some extent, representing the elements of the so-called “Full Range of Leadership Model (FRL)”. In this FRL model, leadership effectiveness is ranged from highly active and effective, to highly inactive and ineffective. Transformational leadership is considered highly active and effective with an emphasis on development and change (Yukl, 2013). Transactional leadership is situated in the middle; its effectiveness is considered in terms of focusing on irregularities, mistakes, exceptions, and deviations from standards (Verschueren, 2014). Laissez-faire or passive leadership style is associated with the most passive and most ineffective leadership. Both styles, transformational and transactional, can be complementary, though change effectiveness is related to greater use of transformational behaviours (Huang & Liao, 2011; Yukl, 2013).
Yukl (1999) posits that the current emphasis on the relationship between transformational leader and subordinate should be complemented with a more organizational perspective. Implementation of change implies not only influencing subordinates, but also other stakeholders at different levels (Armenakis & Bedeian, 1999; Cummings & Worley, 2005; Govender, Moodley, & Brijball Parumasur, 2005; Kotter & Cohen, 2002; vanDuinkerken & Mosley, 2011; Yukl, 2013). Thus, as Kotter and Cohen (2002) suggest, leaders should ensure that all actors with a stake in the change be identified and involved in the process and implementation of that change. Unfortunately, this seems not to be the case in most academic libraries, as leaders have scarce communication with stakeholders during change processes (Stephens & Russell, 2004; vanDuinkerken & Mosley, 2011).
2.2. Stakeholder management in academic library change
The stakeholder management approach offers an interesting frame to understand the need and the way to actively manage stakeholders in change settings. Freeman (1984) defines a “stakeholder” as any group or individual who can affect, or is affected by, the achievement of the change’s objectives. Stakeholders are only defined in reference to a particular issue (Bryson, 2004; Savage, Nix, Whitehead, & Blair, 1991). In general, the stakeholder management approach involves four steps: (1) identification and analysis of stakeholders, (2) formulation of strategies, (3) facilitation of the process to implement these strategies, and (4) evaluation of strategy implementation (Freeman, 1984; Mitchell, Agle, & Wood, 1997; Savage et al., 1991).
Savage et al. (1991) developed a model to apply stakeholder management based on an analysis of the potential for stakeholders to threaten the process, as well as their potential to cooperate. The authors recommend that leaders should assess these two potentials and manage the stakeholders accordingly. They also suggest minimally satisfying the needs of stakeholders with low potential on both dimensions, while maximally satisfying the needs of stakeholders with high potential to cooperate, and high potential to threaten. The fundamental idea is to transform the stakeholder relationship to a more favourable condition (Bryson, 2004).
Library managers, as part of their role as change agents, should implement this approach. However, leaders often only identify and describe stakeholders but fail to successfully manage them (Freeman & McVea, 2001). Stakeholder management should be seen as a continuous task of analysing and integrating multiple stakeholders and multiple objectives (Freeman & McVea, 2001). Furthermore, the criteria used to assess stakeholders are not static but rather dynamic. Levels of power, saliency, coalitions and interest, may change over time, and leaders must pay attention to these changes (Freeman, 1984).
Concisely, whereas transformational leadership is directed at the library staff, stakeholder management focuses on other relevant parties. Based on the characteristics of transformational leadership mentioned before, it is likely that library managers with more transformational styles will also deploy more stakeholder management.
A single case study concerning a six-year attempt to implement Library 2.0 into a Latin American academic library was used. This allows for a better understanding and interpretation of the events, leadership behaviours, and relationships between the library manager and the different stakeholders during the change process.
Data collection was accomplished through direct observation, analysis of secondary documents, and in-depth semi-structured interviews to assure data triangulation (Yin, 2009). This data collection was conducted by the first author over the six year period in order to appropriately cover the whole process and to avoid errors caused by a prospective memory failure. Through sustained observation, deep level understanding of the process was achieved. Forty official and unofficial documents were collected, including change plans, meeting reports, communications, change process reports, library regulations, strategic plans, university regulations, and university newsletters. Comprising the data were fifteen semi-structured interviews with key informants: library managers (3 interviews), librarians (9), library council members (2) and university’s top administrators (1). The first round of interviews started in the second year, and continued yearly thereafter. Each interview lasted approximately 35–60 minutes. The interviews were recorded and then transcribed for analysis. The topics explored in the questionnaire, as listed in Appendix 1, were the change process, change´s results, leadership behaviours, leader relationships, stakeholder management, and limitations for change implementations.
The data analysis was carried out in several steps, mainly using qualitative software (ATLAS.ti). Firstly, data were studied and categorized meticulously in order to identify and describe the change periods and results. Codes and subcodes were used to organize the data in each period. For instance, the code “CP_Time line” was used to code the milestones of the process, and the codes “CP_First Period”, “CP_Second Period”, “CP_Third Period” and “CP_Fourth Period” were used to organize the events in each period. In addition, the codes “CP_Planning”, “CP_Objectives”, “CP_Implementation”, “CP_Results” and “CP_Evaluation” were utilized to code and analyze the steps followed to implement the change, as well as the outcomes achieved in each phase. (See details in Appendix 2.) Secondly, a priority list of codes, based on our previous literature review (§ 2) and emergent ideas from the data, was used for coding. A detailed list of codes is given in Appendix 2. To ensure accuracy of coding, data were read and independently coded by two of the authors, and then were jointly compared in order to consolidate the codification. Quotations, which had been coded differently, were discussed in detail until consensus was achieved. Thirdly, matrices were developed in order to summarize and clarify codes and levels of abstraction. For more information about the use of matrices see Miles and Huberman (1994) and Swanborn (2010). An example of a summarized matrix is given in Appendix 3. Finally, exploring data tools of Atlas.ti and matrices were used to generate findings. These emerging findings were discussed by the authors, and continuously compared and contrasted with literature on transformational leadership and stakeholder management in order to identify its emergent theoretical contribution to organizational change (Jorgensen, 1989).
Research quality checks were accomplished using three different procedures. First, independent coding was used. Second, the interview findings were triangulated with findings from the secondary documents and observations, avoiding dependence on the interviewees’ subjective views. Third, this study employed a member checking process.
4. The academic library change process
The main objective of the change process was to achieve the transition from a traditional library to a Library 2.0. The key drivers for starting this change were both the pressures of the changing context, and the implementation of an Institutional Change Project (ICP) at the university level with financial support from an external institution. The ICP´s leader was the Vice Rector, responsible for all academic affairs including academic programs, library services and students’ well-being.
The six years of change were divided in four key periods related to important milestones and shifts in library manager (see Figure 1). Subsequently, the findings are presented for each period as follows. First, the main events and results are described. Then, the role played by library managers as leaders of change and how they dealt with different stakeholders are analysed (see Table 1). Finally, a comparison of the findings regarding leadership and stakeholder management is provided.
|Period/ Library managers||Transformational Leadership*||Stakeholder management **||Changes implemented|
Library manager 1
|No transformational behaviours exhibit.||Hardly stakeholder management practices performed.||Technological changes****|
The change team
Library manager 1
+ Change Team***
|No transformational behaviours exhibit.||Library Council integration, only structured attempt to involve stakeholders.||Technological changes****|
Library manager 2
|No transformational behaviours exhibit.||Stakeholder management was not systematic, nor proactive.
Good relationships with specific stakeholders.
Library manager 3
|Transformational behaviour exhibit.||Stakeholder management was not systematic, nor proactive.
Good relationships with specific stakeholders.
|Technological and organizational changes|
4.1. First period: “Laissez-faire” leadership (March, 2007–March, 2009)
The change began in March 2007 when the ICP at the university level started to set up the library change as one of its sub-projects. A diagnostic of the library, on initiative of the ICP, was developed by an external group of international library experts, including a young and a senior chief librarian. Several recommendations were identified and communicated with the university’s top administrators and librarians. Although several meetings and informal conversations took place among library staff and the ICP, the planning of change was not clearly and explicitly formulated. After almost two years, the interviewers recognized that the change had not been successfully implemented. This conclusion was corroborated by reports and observations. Organizational changes, such as a new library regulation and a new departmental structure, were not executed. A number of technological improvements were implemented by the ICT responsible, including: the installation of new computers, servers and storage equipment; the creation and implementation of a new Website; and higher-speed access to Internet and Intranet. After several discussions, the need to retake efforts to boost the change process in the library was recognized by top management. See Sucozhañay et al. (2011) for a detailed description of this period.
Regarding the leadership style, the library manager who was expected to take the lead in implementing the change, was perceived as playing a rather low-profile role and not exhibiting transformational leadership behaviours. Librarians saw him/her as someone who was highly experienced and trained but who failed to provide them with regular feedback. The library manager’s leadership style was characterized as allowing librarians great freedom to propose and execute activities while avoiding getting involved and making decisions. An interesting fact, regarding the leadership on this period, is the little clarity on who was leading the change. For instance, on the one hand, the technological changes were conducted by the ICP and ICT responsible. On the other hand, when the library manager was asked about the leadership, he/she identified the ICP as leader of the change. Likewise, the Vice Rector, as the highest authority of the library, was also identified as responsible for the change. Unfortunately, the vision of change of these different actors was not aligned. The library manager explained that his/her idea of change was oriented to solve librarianship issues, such as cataloguing and processing, while the Vice Rector and ICP in coalition with the ICT responsible, were mainly focused on technological improvements. This disconnection contributed to the isolation of the library manager.
In addition to this lack of alignment, stakeholder management practices were not observed or mentioned in the interviews. The relationship between the library manager and stakeholders was weak; consequently, neither influenced the librarians, nor university’s top administrators, and other actors to align forces for change (as shown in Figure 2a).
4.2. Second period: The change team (March, 2009–December, 2009)
After the first attempt to forge the change into the library, a new strategy was planned. Thus, an external expert updated the diagnosis of the library and drew the library change path but now with the support of a local Library Change Team (LCT) and a Library Council. The LCT was formed by an organizational consultant, a thesis student, an internship student of a European university, and the ICT responsible. The Library Council consisted of representatives from academic and library staff, and university top and middle management, formally appointed by the Vice Rector.
The diagnosis showed that the library situation had not changed, except for some technological improvements. After several meetings with the participation of the library staff, LCT, Library Council and the external expert, a general guide for the library change, including vision, mission and five main objectives, was set out and validated by university’s top administrators. The objectives were: 1) adapting the organizational structure, 2) optimizing the internal processes, 3) improving the interpersonal relationships, 4) positioning of the library image, and 5) updating the library regulations. The LCT took charge of the implementation process. Important to note is that the library manager was not an active actor of the LCT, due to, as mentioned above, his/her misalignment of the change vision.
During the next six months, the activities were geared to implement this plan. The technological change, led by the new ICT responsible, continued. A new library system and a new cataloguing format were implemented. However, the gap between the implemented technology and ideas, and knowledge and skills of the library staff remained wide. As several librarians explain, many technologies and services were implemented without clearly knowing the theory and philosophy behind them. For example, Facebook services were implemented without a clear idea of its importance as part of Libraries 2.0. More details on this period can be found in Sucozhañay et al. (2011).
Concerning the leadership of this period, no change in the library manager performance was found. The LCT had a prominent role in this period. This team had a direct communication with the Vice Rector and librarians. Nevertheless, transformational behaviours of its members were not found. The limitation of the LCT was its little political power to take decisions, since none of its members had a formal position at the university.
Regarding stakeholder management practices, the relationship between the library manager and the stakeholders remained relatively poor (see Figure 2b). No systematic stakeholder management practices were identified. The establishment of the Library Council could be considered as a “first structured attempt” to involve several stakeholders though this initiative was boosted by the ICP. The LCT carried out the establishment of the Library Council. Unfortunately, university’s top administrators and the library manager hardly participated in the Library Council, thereby minimizing the potential stakeholder management.
4.3. Third period: The managerial leader (December 2009–January 2011)
In December 2009, the university’s top administrators appointed the ICT responsible as library manager. The good relationship and shared understanding of the content of change allowed direct communication between the library manager, ICP members, and the Vice Rector, thereby eliminating previous disconnections. Activities in this period were focused on the implementation of proposals that were developed in the previous period, such as the new library regulation, training of library staff, and dissemination of online services. Despite the emphasis placed on the development of proposals for a new organizational structure, including departmentalization schemes, process optimization, and manual functions, none of these contributions were implemented. Librarians and Library Council members perceived that no big organizational changes were achieved. The technological change continued to be an important element in the library change. As a result, a new online public access catalogue was implemented, and the library Web portal was redesigned to incorporate Library 2.0 tools, such as blogs, social networking, messaging applications and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds.
Regarding leadership behaviours, the majority of librarians perceived the new library manager as more active, communicative, task-oriented, and having a high commitment with the change process. The library manager put emphasis on setting short-term goals, rules and procedures. Despite these favourable characteristics, the new library manager was not perceived by librarians as having enough influence, librarian knowledge, and expertise to motivate and inspire followers. The relationship between the new library manager and librarians tended to be transitory and not based on emotional bonds. Accordingly, transformational behaviours were almost absent. Interestingly, although librarians recognized the need for change, it did not necessarily mean radical change, and they often felt threatened by the new technological innovations promoted by the library manager.
Stakeholder management in this period was not systematic but rather incident-based. For instance, the library manager directly worked together with university’s top administrators to achieve specific results such as the final approval of the new library regulation. The Library Council continued having meetings and discussions on how to implement the change and how to get enough resources for it. Additionally, they provided the political support and feedback for the process of approval of the new library regulation. Interestingly, after almost one year, the work intensity of the Library Council decreased due to both few meeting requests and the intermittent attendance of their members. The relationships of key stakeholders in this period are presented in Figure 2c.
The analysis of this period prompts the conclusion that although the new library manager had a good stakeholder relationship, he/she did not display transformational leadership qualities. This situation limited the library manager’s ability to influence stakeholders to achieve the library vision.
4.4. Fourth period: The transformational leader (February 2011–December 2012)
At the end of January 2011, the second library manager resigned to accept another position. As a consequence, an experienced librarian was appointed as new library manager by university’s top administrators.
In this period, the new library manager was able to implement the new organizational structure that had not yet been implemented, due to low participation and commitment rates of librarians. The new organizational structure consisted of one head and three departmental units: Technical Process, Library Services, and Information Technology, each with their respective coordinator. After its implementation in April 2011, librarians noted that the new structure allowed for the specialization, promotion, teamwork, improvement of coordination, and monitoring of library functions.
With the new structure implemented and running, efforts were made to develop the library strategic plan for 2012–2017. To give support in this task, a new external expert visited the library in May 2011. After a week of work, the library staff and university’s top administrators agreed on the strategic lines. Librarians recognized the importance of the plan in clarifying the library direction for the upcoming years. The strategic lines were: 1) organization and co-operation, 2) support of research, 3) support of teaching and learning, 4) digital library, 5) staff capacity building, and 6) quality management.
The emphasis in this period was then put on the implementation of the library strategic plan. Digital services, such as a digital repository and remote access to bibliographic databases, were implemented. Library staff and users were trained in topics related with digital services. Additionally, the library participated actively in the university accreditation and improved its cooperation and networking with other libraries.
The new library manager was recognized by all librarians as leader of the change process and displaying transformational leadership qualities. Attributes, such as communicative, persistence, envisioning future, commitment to goals, valid knowledge and skills, ideas generator, team building among others, were used to describe the library manager’s leadership style. Attitudes that, according to the literature, fall into the four transformational behaviours: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration (Bass & Riggio, 2006). The following quotation illustrates this view: “The library manager is leading the process of change, and has become a leader because of the determination, knowledge and passion about the library” (Librarian).
Regarding the stakeholders, the library manager recognized the importance of the Library Council because its members are important stakeholders; however, no effort was made to reactivate it. Instead, to implement certain activities, the library manager initiated direct communication with university’s top administrators and different university departments and units, such as Human Resources and the Financial Department (see Figure 2d). Although a good relationship with these stakeholders could be seen, neither a systematic nor a proactive management of the stakeholders could be identified. An overview of the findings implemented in all investigated periods, regarding transformational leadership, stakeholder management, and main changes, is given in Table 1.
The transition from a traditional library to a Library 2.0 in Latin America should be seen as an integral and complex change. As can be seen in this case study, implementing these types of changes requires a good deal of vision, time, and effort (Jantz, 2012). Technological and organizational components have to be managed simultaneously; otherwise, this shift of paradigm must settle for merely automating traditional library services. Accordingly, Graetz and Smith (2009) argue that many libraries continue to uphold traditional structures while they try to implement new approaches. In fact, the key to successful implementation of any new model is usually not the technology but human factors (Williamson, 2008), and this case study is not the exception. Evidence shows that people are essential to the success of a change process, but they often resist (Marshall, 2008). Zimmerman (2006) posits that resistance is a major factor in the failure of change. Therefore, library managers have to develop a participative process that encourages librarians and other stakeholders to work together to achieve a common goal, while preventing significant resistance to change (De Bruyn & Kruger, 2001). In this case, change resistance was not highly significant, it was mainly related to the way that the change was led.
The literature on leadership styles and stakeholder management provides insight into the role of library managers in the implementation of change. The current findings reinforce the conclusion that transformational behaviours contribute to positive outcomes during times of change in academic library settings (Albritton, 1998). Transformational leadership style stresses the emotional and symbolic aspects of change (Yukl, 2013). For instance, leaders usually use emotional support to prompt followers’ commitment, and thus reduce resistance. Stringer (2002) posits that leadership practices cannot be measured as ‘good-bad’ issues but rather as ‘effective-less effective’ issues. In this case, the third library manager, who displayed higher transformational leadership behaviours, was able to inspire, motivate, and facilitate change not only in technological aspects but also in organizational aspects. A transformational leader motivated library staff by means of communicating an appealing vision, demonstrating high levels of trust, persistence and knowledge about the library issues, attention to individualized development, and the ability and willingness to provide intellectual stimulation (Bass, 1990, p. 30). The second library manager was recognized as task-oriented and less effective in achieving an integral change. This insight further supports the idea that although transactional leadership style is appropriate in some settings, only transformational leadership can motivate the actions needed to achieve successful change (Kotter, 1996).
Additionally, during the whole process, only one of the three library managers was perceived as a transformational leader. This drives our attention to the way library managers were appointed. It was found that no analysis of leadership skills was performed before the appointment of library managers to their positions. This finding is in agreement with Sukram and Hoskins’ (2012) findings, which show that library managers are often appointed without considering their leadership skills. In this study, it is therefore argued that one “Achilles’ heel” of the library change was to assume that appointed library managers would be able to serve as transformational leaders. Traditionally, the selection of library managers is the exclusive responsibility of the university’s top administrators. Unfortunately, these authorities lack time and experience to assess the candidate’s leadership qualities.
Furthermore, as mentioned in the literature review, academic libraries are usually part of a parent organization, such as a university. This makes library change seen as a phenomenon that occurs in interaction with a wider range of relevant stakeholders (López & Vargas, 2012; Solís & López, 2000). For instance, in this case study, strategic decisions and resource allocation depended not only on library managers’ decisions but also on university top administrators and other stakeholders, such as the finance director and deans’ decisions (Budd, 2005; López Segrera, 2008; Torres & Schugurensky, 2002; vanDuinkerken & Mosley, 2011). This fact drives the discussion of the stakeholders’ value in developing a major change in library settings, which has been corroborated in previous studies, such as vanDuinkerken and Mosley (2011). According to Turner (2007) and Kotter (1995), stakeholders’ attitudes, including resistance or willingness to change, depend not only on the content of the change but largely on how the transition is led. Nevertheless, most of the library leadership literature has focused on the leader-subordinate relationship (Tam & Robertson, 2002; Williamson, 2008).
The library manager, as change leader, has to engage stakeholders with the goals of the change (Stavridis & Tsimpoglou, 2012; vanDuinkerken & Mosley, 2011). However, as illustrated in Figure 2, findings show that most of the time, library managers have a rather limited and weak relation with stakeholders (vanDuinkerken & Mosley, 2011). Horn (2008) posits that each stakeholder may require a different approach to be managed. For instance, library managers have to be aware of the strong contribution that university top management can make to achieve radical change. Nevertheless, even though support and commitment to change is expected and offered from university’s top administrators, it fluctuates during the change process. Low attention and engagement are sometimes evidenced. Therefore, library managers have to work on building and strengthening their relationship with university top management to increase the chances to succeed. Likewise, university’s top administrators, as principals responsible for library development, should take sound decisions to avoid bottlenecks during the implementation of change, such as providing budget and resources.
Stakeholder management practices were barely identified in our case study. Nevertheless, it does not necessarily mean that library managers developed different relationship approaches with their stakeholders. Remarkable is that, although all three library managers recognized the importance of university actors, none of them performed a systematic practice to identify, analyse, and manage these stakeholders. This finding reinforces the reported experience on previous studies that leaders often fail to identify, analyse, and manage stakeholders (Savage et al., 1991). From a pragmatic point of view, the importance of stakeholder management must be recognized; managing highly diverse stakeholder groups effectively, is not an easy task as demonstrated in this case study. There were some isolated practices that library managers performed in order to negotiate and engage some stakeholders. For instance, the “Library Council” experience was an interesting attempt to incorporate other stakeholders. Nevertheless, even with a promising start and recognition as part of the organizational structure of the library, the committee stopped its work by the end of the third period. Although this experience would have been an interesting way to integrate stakeholders, it had its limitations. First, the selection of Library Council members was guided by a criterion of “experience in research” but not according to their power, legitimacy, and urgency (Mitchell, Angle, & Wood, 1997); three key stakeholder attributes that have received reasonable empirical support to identify and analyse “who really counts” when performing stakeholder mapping and evaluation (Laplume, Sonpar, & Litz, 2008; Mitchell, Angle, & Wood, 1997). Second, no analysis or management strategies of these actors was generated by leaders. For instance, most of the times, key stakeholders were very busy with the day-to-day management of their own faculties or departments, simply lacking time and energy to invest in collaboration with other parties. Finally, Library Council recognition in the third period was still low, limiting its capacity to influence decision-making processes.
Several methodological proposals on how leaders can manage stakeholders can be found in the literature (Mitchell, Angle, & Wood, 1997; Savage et al., 1991; Svendsen, 1998). However, it is not clear why leaders do not put any of these recommendations into practice. One possible explanation, coming from this study, is that library managers usually see the university top administrators and the administrative and academic directors as individuals to whom they should report, rather than actors to be influenced. Another possible explanation is the lack of time library managers and stakeholders have for such activity. Based on the case study analysis, the general conclusion is that although the importance of stakeholders is recognized by library managers, their management is more reactive than proactive. This prompts the need of library leaders to understand more deeply the stakeholder management approach, which means to recognize the stakeholders, their motivations, and interests. In addition, to increase the likelihood of a successful change, an important activity is the formulation of strategies, and subsequently the facilitation of processes to implement such strategies (Mitchell, Angle, & Wood, 1997; Savage et al., 1991).
5.1. Practical implications
In general, our findings suggest that library managers, as change leaders, should perform transformational behaviours and actively manage the stakeholders in order to achieve a successful change. This double approach – transformational leadership and stakeholder management – used to analyse the role of library managers, recognizes the complexity of relationships in an academic library change implementation.
Sukram and Hoskins (2012) recommend that library managers be trained on leadership competencies and management of the stakeholders. Nevertheless, managers are rarely trained in these issues (Holm-Nielsen, Thorn, Brunner, & Balán, 2005; vanDuinkerken & Mosley, 2011). Library managers have to look for transformational leadership skills to encourage organizational change. Bass (1990) posits that transformational leadership skills can be learned, and plenty of methodologies to implement stakeholder management can also be found in literature. However, as these concepts have been developed mainly in business arenas, library managers have to adapt them for the academic field. Training in both transformational leadership and stakeholder management will help library managers improve their performance as change leaders.
5.2. Research limitations
A limitation of this study is that data collection for the analysis about leadership and stakeholder management was conducted through retrospective interviews, where interviewers may have omitted or filtered details. Nevertheless, data triangulation and data collection at different moments allowed a reduction of this risk. An additional limitation is that this study was focused on the role of leaders in involving library staff and internal stakeholders within the university. External stakeholders such as suppliers, other libraries and government institutions were not analysed. Finally, the last limitation is that the change process analysis was performed until December 2012; however, the change process is still in progress.
Transforming a traditional library into a Library 2.0 has been investigated widely, often with a strong emphasis on the technological aspects. This paper illustrates the importance of the “human factor” in technological innovations. It was found that transformational leadership and stakeholder management play a critical role. To ensure the success of change, leaders have to align the vision and the implementation strategies of change among stakeholders at multiple levels. In this particular case, although library managers recognized the importance of different stakeholders, findings show that there is no specific strategy to manage them. In fact, stakeholder management actions in this case study were reactive and unsystematic. Library managers should act as transformational leaders creating sustainable and trustful relationships not only with the library staff but also with other stakeholders to reach this goal.