Mining the Cultural Evidence: Situating Planning and Leadership within the Academic Library Culture

Lyn Currie, Carol Shepstone


Objective – This study investigated organizational culture in two academic libraries in order to propose culturally responsive strategies for developing planning and leadership initiatives. A case study conducted at the University of Saskatchewan Library (Shepstone & Currie, 2008) was replicated at two other Canadian academic libraries to generate some comparative data on organizational culture in Canadian academic libraries.

Methods – The Competing Values Framework (Cameron & Quinn, 1999, 2006) provided the theoretical framework and the methodology for diagnosing and understanding organizational culture. The Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI) was administered by questionnaire to all library staff at Mount Royal University and Carleton University libraries.

Results – Scores on the OCAI were used to graphically plot and describe the current and preferred culture profiles for each library. We compared the cultures at the three libraries and proposed strategies for initiating planning and developing leadership that were appropriate for the preferred cultures.

Conclusions – This research demonstrates that academic library culture can be diagnosed, understood, and changed in order to enhance organizational performance. Examining organizational culture provides evidence to guide strategy development, priority setting and planning, and the development of key leadership abilities and skills. Creating culturally appropriate support mechanisms, opportunities for learning and growth, and a clear plan of action for change and improvement are critical.


academic libraries; organizational culture;planning;leadership

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