Developing a model for investigating university libraries as learning organisations

  • Saowapha Limwichitr

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Contemporary organisations including university libraries are operating in a climate of continuous change. Preserving their traditional role as gatekeepers to data and information is not enough; they need to take a further step to becoming learning organisations. Due to the limits of knowledge and study in the field, the study aims to investigate and propose a model for developing university libraries into learning organisations. The researcher used six university libraries in Thailand as a case study. Multiple methods of data collection: document analysis, semi-structured interviews, and observation were employed in order to gain an understanding on their transformation efforts. A new model is then proposed for investigating the development of university libraries into learning organisations, comprising the Diamond-shape model and Contextual model. Human resource development and knowledge management practices were found to be the most critical practices in building a learning organisation and then used as the two foci of the Diamond-shape model for investigating the library practices. There are two dimensions employed in the model: the extent to which 1) human resource development and knowledge management are implemented and 2) the two operate measured on a scale ranging from the mechanistic to fully integrated level. Development of the Contextual model is guided by Garvin’s Three Ms framework, comprising the aspects of Meaning, Management, and Measurement, with one more aspect, Critical Success Factors, further added to supplement the three Ms for investigating the libraries’ transformation based on their organisational context. The proposed model provides a new way of investigation by taking into account of the two interrelated concepts in terms of how they can be combined to support building a learning organisation, together with taking into consideration of their context and culture. By this means, the model promotes a holistic understanding by identifying the necessary practices as well as prevailing aspects that might impede transformational change into a learning organisation and the results of the investigation can be used to propose actions to transform the university libraries into fully-fledged learning organisations. The model was applied to the six case libraries to confirm its validity. Limitations of the study were considered and recommendations for further research were proposed, including conducting a study in different research settings to ensure transferability; collecting data from library staff to gain their perspectives; and exploring the aspect of leadership, information technology, and power and politics in detail
Date of Award23 Nov 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorJudy Broady-Preston (Supervisor) & David Ellis (Supervisor)

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