Do information technology units have more power than other units in academic libraries?
Article first published online: 9 MAY 2007
Copyright © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., A Wiley Company
Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Volume 58, Issue 9, pages 1242–1253, July 2007
How to Cite
Lim, S. (2007), Do information technology units have more power than other units in academic libraries?. J. Am. Soc. Inf. Sci., 58: 1242–1253. doi: 10.1002/asi.20603
- Issue published online: 13 JUN 2007
- Article first published online: 9 MAY 2007
- Manuscript Accepted: 29 SEP 2006
- Manuscript Revised: 28 SEP 2006
- Manuscript Received: 22 AUG 2005
Systems offices that deal with library information technologies have played an important role in academic libraries; however, not much is known about how systems offices are positioned within academic libraries. This study examined the present status and the influence of systems offices by exploring the power differences among five principal functional units based on strategic contingencies theory. A mail questionnaire was sent to the principal functional unit heads of each of 95 university libraries belonging to the Association of Research Libraries in the United States. A total of 484 questionnaires were sent; 235 questionnaires were returned. The three major findings of this study were that (a) systems offices had more perceived power than all but public services; (b) systems offices had higher levels on contingency variables than did most of the other units; and finally, (c) criticality was a factor affecting perceived power between systems offices and most of the other units. The study findings imply that strategic contingencies theory may be partially applicable to library settings. Library staff or units may strategically increase their power by aligning their services with goals critical to their library and cooperating with other staff or other units.