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Libraries, change management and professional development: discovering an appreciative approach


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Presentation by Tricia Kelly at RAILS7, 10 May 2011

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Libraries, change management and professional development: discovering an appreciative approach

  1. 1. Tricia Kelly Research Applications in Information and Library Studies (RAILS7) 10 th May 2011 Libraries, Change Management and Professional Development: Discovering an Appreciative Approach
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Taking an Appreciative Inquiry approach to change management </li></ul><ul><li>Specific areas of this investigation </li></ul><ul><li>Research design </li></ul><ul><li>Practical outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Limitations of this research </li></ul><ul><li>Advantages & disadvantages of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) </li></ul><ul><li>Further research opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledgements </li></ul>
  3. 3. Appreciative Inquiry (AI) <ul><li>Developed in 1980 by a doctoral student (David Cooperrider) looking to take a different approach to the traditional way of problem-solving in organisations </li></ul><ul><li>Stems from Organisational Development </li></ul><ul><li>AI is a change management technique based on finding the best within an organization and building on the elements that make it the best </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages discovery of “What gives life” through the generative potential of story-telling </li></ul>
  4. 4. Features of Appreciative Inquiry <ul><li>Appreciative Inquiry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Generative inquiry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is best </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enable success </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Whole systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Voluntaristic </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Traditional CM techniques </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Problem solving </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is wrong </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fix problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Varied, usually isolated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mainly deterministic </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Assumptions of Appreciative Inquiry <ul><ul><li>In every society, organization, or group, something works. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What we focus on becomes our reality. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reality is created in the moment, and there are multiple realities. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The act of asking questions of an organization or group influences the group in some way. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People have more confidence and comfort to journey to the future (the unknown) when they carry forward parts of the past (the known). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If we carry parts of the past forward, they should be what is best about the past. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It is important to value differences. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The language we use creates our reality. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>[Source: Hall, J. & Hammond, S. A. (n.d.). What is appreciative inquiry? Retrieved June 6, 2009, from] </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Appreciative Inquiry ‘4-D’ model Dream “ What might be?” (what is the world calling for?) Envisioning Results Discovery “ What gives life?” (the best of what is) Appreciating Destiny “ How to empower, learn and adjust/improvise?” Sustaining Design “ What should be – the ideal?” Co-constructing AFFIRMATIVE TOPIC
  7. 7. Research Questions <ul><li>Objective: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To determine the potential of Appreciative Inquiry as a positive change management approach for Library & Information Management (LIM) organisations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How c an Appreciative Inquiry be used as a positive change management technique for LIM organisations? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How effective the Appreciative Inquiry approach to change management might be for organisations relying upon virtual teams? </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Why this research is important <ul><li>Libraries are undergoing considerable changes, and often within rapid timeframes and need change-ready teams in order to successfully manage the changes. </li></ul><ul><li>The application of a tool that would possibly enable LIM professionals to engage in positive and effective change management should be investigated. </li></ul><ul><li>There is a need for the development of practical research that can be applied within LIM organisations </li></ul>
  9. 9. Research design <ul><li>Action research </li></ul><ul><li>CSIRO Information Management & Technology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stage 1: Library Services & Records teams </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stage 2: Library Services team </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Virtual team geographically distributed across Australia </li></ul><ul><li>Major change process began in 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>Two key stages of this research </li></ul>
  10. 10. Stage 1 – Exceptional change-ready teams Discovery Affirmative topic: Exceptional change-ready teams Participants: 83 Research group: CSIRO IM&T Library and Records staff Technique: Paired interviews in-person at workshop session, Melbourne Pilot Study (Discovery) Affirmative topic: Exceptional change-ready teams Participants: 5 Research group: CSIRO Library Network Technique: Semi-structured interviews via phone or in-person Questions refined Stage 2 Affirmative topic identified
  11. 11. Practical outcomes – Stage 1: Exceptional change-ready teams <ul><li>By applying the Discovery phase during the change workshops in Melbourne, the newly formed teams were able to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Share stories about exceptional team experiences and identify what actions made that experience so exciting/engaging/fulfilling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discover what participants valued about themselves and the organisation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gain an insight to the sources of pride in their work and in what way they envisaged contributing their best to the newly formed IM&T team </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify leadership characteristics valued by participants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Share positive experiences in the ways trust and respect were developed and communicated in teams </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify the critical actions that made it possible for a team to work together so exceptionally </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Stage 2 - Professional Development Appreciative Inquiry 4-D Model – Affirmative topic: “Professional Development for CSIRO Library staff in a changing world: The right skills for today and tomorrow 4. Destiny Participants: 25 Research group: CSIRO IM&T Library staff Technique: 5 point Likert-type scale survey via email 1. Discovery Participants: 29 Research group: CSIRO IM&T Library staff Technique: One-on-one interviews via MeetingPlace (online collaboration tool) 3. Design Participants: 60 Research group: CSIRO IM&T Library staff Technique: Group activity in-person at Library Conference, Canberra 2. Dream Participants: 60 Research group: CSIRO IM&T Library staff Technique: Group activity in-person at Library Conference, Canberra
  13. 13. Practical outcomes – Stage 2: Professional development to enable change-ready teams <ul><li>Discovery phase outcomes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identified a broad range of professional development activities that could be undertaken by a person working with the LIM industry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Presented a list of “essential” professional development activities that anyone working in LIM industries should undertake at the very least to keep up to date with developments in the industry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provided a snapshot of the types of professional development activities, and the frequency of those activities, currently undertaken by a sample group of CSIRO Library Services staff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identification of the types of professional development activities that rated highly as being most engaging and had a positive benefit for participants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Acknowledgement of the ways in which professional development outcomes can be shared within a team environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identification of 10 key concepts that need to be in place in order for a successful professional development process to occur. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Practical outcomes – Stage 2: Professional development to enable change-ready teams <ul><li>Dream & Design outcomes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Creation of a set of seven key principles on which the progression of professional development within the CSIRO Library Services team will be based </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Development and implementation of a “group-owned” strategy for encouraging library staff to engage in professional development through the following actions: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appointment of Professional Development Champions in each team </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Development of the Professional Development Portal on SharePoint as a source for professional development information including PD principles, types of PD activities (including those considered essential), and a calendar of PD events. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Suggestion for knowledge-sharing sessions to which everyone could contribute and participate via the online collaborative tool, MeetingPlace </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Call for teams to do a gap analysis of current and future skills </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Practical outcomes – Stage 2: Professional development to enable change-ready teams <ul><li>Destiny phase outcomes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identification of areas that required further development including: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time allocation for professional development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Broadening the range of professional development opportunities available </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sharing knowledge within the teams </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Suggestions for improving the Professional Development Portal. </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Limitations of this research <ul><li>Results specific to this team at that point in time and as such, may not necessarily be replicated elsewhere </li></ul><ul><li>Paired interview process had pros and cons </li></ul><ul><li>Relationship of the practitioner-researcher with the research community </li></ul><ul><li>Limited time available for the Discovery session at the workshop in Stage 1 </li></ul>
  17. 17. Advantages of Appreciative Inquiry <ul><li>Positive energy is generated </li></ul><ul><li>AI is generative and inclusive </li></ul><ul><li>AI is flexible </li></ul><ul><li>Appreciation of multiple realities </li></ul>
  18. 18. Disadvantages of AI <ul><li>Appreciative Inquiry requires time and commitment which can sometimes be difficult to find during a major change process </li></ul><ul><li>If the Discovery only phase is utilized at the beginning of a change process, there is an element of “what happens next?” and outcomes can lack direction to be carried forward into actions </li></ul>
  19. 19. Further research opportunities <ul><li>Topics for further exploration that emerged: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Using AI to generate meaningful dialogue on generational approaches to change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>AI has predominantly been utilized as an organisational development tool but the potential of AI as a personal development tool for the individual as not yet been fully explored </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does the problem-solving mind-set of particular personality styles derail the effective use of AI as positive change management tool? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Opportunities for libraries to undertake action research using an AI approach </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Succession planning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Proactive client services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Innovative and “magnetic” work environments </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. To conclude… <ul><li>“ Things change. No matter how much our directors love us, no matter how great a job we do, circumstances, and management, change. Budgets get cut, people move on, organizations’ priorities (and staff needs) change.” </li></ul><ul><li>[Source: Dority, G. K. (2006). Rethinking information work: A career guide for librarians and other information professionals. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, p.3] </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Take a positive approach to change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adopt the AI 4-D model - Discover, Dream, Design and Destiny </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Carry the “best of what was” into creating a strong future of exceptional teams and exceptional services. </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Acknowledgements <ul><li>CSIRO Information Management & Technology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Management Team </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Records Services staff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Library Services staff </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Charles Sturt University </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dr Bob Pymm </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dr Annemaree Lloyd </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Thank you & Questions CSIRO Information Management & Technology Data Management Services Tricia Kelly Email: Contact Us Phone: 1300 363 400 or +61 3 9545 2176 Email: Web: