This study clarifies management theories in libraries by examining cases where management theories have been applied. The ‘microscopic’ view consists of conclusions reached by analysing cases of individual libraries. To support this microscopic perspective using a ‘macroscopic’ one, the author employed databases to carry out a survey and conduct a bibliomet- ric analysis. The bibliometric analysis illustrates quantitatively and to what degree discussions of each management theory took place in the domain of library and information science by year.

The case studies analyse situations where management theory has been applied to a library. The goal is to shed light on the questions: (1) What were the characteristics of the management theory?; (2) How was management theory applied to libraries?; and (3) How did the management theory applied actually function?

This study explored the period from the 1960s to the 2010s. The author examined the following management theories:

  • 1. Long-range planning, including planning programming budgeting systems (PPBS)
  • 2. Management by objectives (MBO)
  • 3. Game theory
  • 4. Strategic planning/strategic management
  • 5. Library management evaluation theories: performance measurement, evaluation, Hernon’s library management evaluation theory, SERVQUAL, LibQUAL+, ISO 11620
  • 6. Competitive strategy (including value chain)
  • 7. Peters and Waterman’s Eight Excellence Attributes
  • 8. Business process re-engineering (BPR)
  • 9. Core competency
  • 10. Organisational learning/learning organisation
  • 11. Community of practice

In addition to the management theories from Stueart’s textbook on library management (Stueart & Eastlick, 1977), the author also examined business administration textbooks written by Grant (2010) and Saloner, Shepard, and Podolny (2001). Grant’s textbook on management is a standard work used by graduate schools of business administration around the world, while the textbook by Saloner et al. is used by the graduate school of business administration at Stanford University. The author also referred to The Management Century (Crainer, 2000), since this management book reviewed most of the management theories from a perspective of business management history.

In the field of library management, philosophies that value evaluation (in which its functions are already incorporated into management strategy theory) have been found. Hence, this study treats these philosophies as library management evaluation theory.

This study is based on business management textbooks; thus, the management theories that are examined also include philosophies that have been assumed to have had almost no impact on libraries. This contributes to an understanding of just what the main players in library management have chosen and not chosen throughout the field’s history. Management is logical; thus, knowing the kinds of management theories that were not selected for decision-making is also important in understanding library management.

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