Developing a More effective Organizational Structure in the Face of Staff Resistance to Change and Budgetary Restrictions Presented by: Andrew Wesolek Fall, 2009
As it Stands: Cataloging & Collections (technical services) – Bill (dept. head) 3 units – Cataloging, Print & Media Acquisitions, Serials & Electronic Resources Cataloging 3 catalog librarians Evaluations and official supervision done by Dean Workflow coordinated by dept. head Print & Media Acquisitions Performs acquisitions work for monographs and media including copy cataloging Mending, marking and mail room duties also fall all under this unit Used to be supervised by an LA3 (Library Assistant 3 – highest level for classified staff), but this position was eliminated recently after a resignation; now all members are directly supervised by dept. head 1 library bindery tech (mending, mail) 1 LA1 (marking, other misc duties including some work with serials) 3 LA2 (1 person does acquisitions only, 1 copy cataloging only, 1 does some of both) Serials & Electronic Resources Maintenance of print and electronic serials, also database subscriptions and ebooks LA3 supervises other staff, including writing evaluations and coordinating workflow 3 LA2, cross-trained but with own specialties within the units 1 of the LA2 also spends approx. 20% of time on special projects from the dept. head (primarily catalog maintenance projects)
In Addition: Staff is extremely resistant to organizational change. The current structure is largely the result of retirements in conjunction with a hiring freeze. To this point, Bill has acted in a primarily reactionary fashion Any restructuring must be, at the very least, budgetary neutral.
The Suggestions: Thoroughly assess user needs (Bracke, et al. 2007). Create a vision (Phipps, 2004). Observe employees, their behaviors, and the consequences of their actions. This will help in understanding the unwritten ground rules of your organization (Simpson, 2009). Making unwritten ground rules explicit may prompt employees to change their behavior. This is helpful in strategizing your library’s culture (Simpson, 2009). Find ways to realize individuals’ needs through the organization. Allow staff the freedom to develop niches of expertise (Honea, 1997). Chart your current structure and compare it to your ideal structure. This may help in setting and achieving goals, particularly if employees are included in the process (Shepstone and Currie, 2008). Form a coalition to create and implement your vision; strive for short-term wins. This may include “managing up” to create a coherent vision for the broader library (Kotter, 2007). Strive for an adaptable organizational structure through communication, and staff participation (Farley, et. al. 1998). Decentralize your structure by striving for a team-orientation. Retain some centralized leadership to improve efficiency (Kreklow and Kinny, 2007). Include student help in team-oriented structures; this may enhance perceived quality of service while saving money (Owens, 1999). Empower Staff (Phipps, 2004). Focus on developing self-service technologies (Phipps, 2007).
Surprising/Interesting: Lack of literature relating specifically to a cataloging department Without very an extremely thorough understanding of the department’s employees, I could not recommend a specific structure. It will be necessary to implement library-wide change in order to overcome resistant staff.
Feedback: Positive, though not very specific. “Thanks so much for sending this on! Very well put together, and some great information.” And: “very germane to much of the management work I do.” I plan to follow up on this more in the spring