Influence of Business Management Theories on Libraries from 1960s to 2010s


  • 2.1 Objectives and Framework of Analysis 13
  • 2.2 Citation Analysis Findings 15
  • 2.2.1 Type of Organisation 15
  • 2.2.2 Management Area in Library Management Textbooks 17
  • 2.2.3 Management Philosophers/Authors 19
  • 2.3 Conclusions 26

References 27

In recent years the populist approach appears to have had a considerable influence on the practice of public management.

- Bob Usherwood (1996), Rediscovering Public Library Management


In order to see the broad influence of business management theories on library management, we can use citation analysis of a distinguished textbook that represents the evolution of library management within the library world. First, the author selected a set of strategic management theories from well-known textbooks on library management in the world. The American textbook on library management used for this analysis is Library Management (Stueart & Eastlick, 1977). Although the book was originally published in 1977 under the title Library Management, its title was revised to Library and Information Center Management for the fourth edition (Moran, Stueart, & Morner, 2013). It has the distinction of having been revised eight times by 2013. It is used as a textbook in the United States and in several other countries, and it contains 4,855 citations. The textbook was selected for analysis for three reasons.

The first reason it was selected is that this textbook is part of the Library and Information Science Text series. Since it is part of a textbook series, it must maintain a quality of work comparable to other subjects in the series. Additionally, as several authors were involved in writing this text, it is more likely that each would verify the others’ writing, the content would be more well rounded, and therefore more suitable for a library management textbook. In fact, one book review states that this textbook has superior content to other library management textbooks.

The second reason for selecting this text is that it is primarily focused on public and university libraries. Management theories are most often applicable to a wide range of businesses, which is consistent with the purpose of this research book, namely to analyse libraries without limiting this research to a particular type of library.

Third, as is evident from multiple book reviews (Gates, 2004; Williams, 2008), this textbook has been useful to students learning library management, and has been used by library practitioners for decades to provide a foundation for library management. This textbook indicates that it is being written for both the practitioners of library management and students. In other words, it is not intended to be used in a vacuum, but rather, it is intended to be referenced during actual library management. It has indeed been referenced and used in the field. This means that the textbook has heavily influenced students and librarians who study and learn library management.

The author studied the original concepts of each business management theory contained in the library management textbook in order to more deeply understand each theory. Doing so, the philosophy and content in each theory could be analysed and categorised by subject, such as the principles or ideologies of libraries, management theories (strategies, organisational theories), operations, library administration, and law in order to facilitate citation analysis.

Citation analysis consists of using the bibliographic information cited in the library management textbook to determine and analyse the following three points: (1) For what type of organisation was the theory or the literature written?; (2) What area of management was considered when proposing a specific management theory?; and (3) Who developed that management theory? In order to determine these elements, four categories were used to organise each citation: (1) title; (2) subject; (3) the author’s area of specialisation; and (4) the publisher. For example, see Hammer (1990). Hammer has a background in business, and from reviewing the title of the book it is clear that the subject matter relates to organisation, information technology (IT), and operational management. Since the book is published by Harvard Business Review, it logically falls into the category of business theory.

The first point in the analysis requires that the literature referenced be categorised based on three types of organisations: (1) literature written for commercial organisations (private sector, business sector, or the commercial sector); (2) literature written for libraries (library sector); and (3) literature written for non-profit organisations (public sector). The characteristics and philosophies of the literature change depending on the organisations for which the literature was written.

In answering the second question of the analysis, the cited literature is categorised by the area or field in which the managers would be engaged. After referencing some other business management and library management books (Corrall, 2000; Evans & Alire, 2013; Grant, 2010; Moran et al., 2013; Todaro, 2014), the management fields or spheres can be categorised into the following six areas:

  • 1. Strategic management and strategic planning (these include management-related decision-making, management evaluation, and other aspects covering overall management activities)
  • 2. Organisation (this includes staff training, and individual training)
  • 3. Finance and accounting
  • 4. Marketing
  • 5. Operational management and information technology (matters relating to information technology that supports management and operations)
  • 6. Environmental management

Finally, in answering the third question, the cited literature was tallied by author name, to clarify whose management theories were most referenced in library management over time. The various forms of the authors’ names were standardised based on the format used by the United States Library of Congress. In this study, certain authors’ management theories were repeatedly cited, and had a relatively strong influence on library management. In these cases a more detailed case analysis was conducted. The classified citation data was also analysed by the ratio of author citations to total citations.

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