Case Analysis Method: Overcoming the Disadvantages of Case Analysis

The key to developing a management theory for libraries is using indepth case analysis to focus on strategy and organisational structure for an extended period of time. Eisenhardt (1989) and Yin (2013) have pointed out that even the case analyses used in inductive theory construction models sometimes have disadvantages and shortcomings. For instance, if the descriptions or scope of the case analyses are limited, then the case analyses simply become reports. Many case analyses concerning libraries come up short in this way. To overcome this, Hempel (1962, 1965) emphasised the importance of more detailed, empirical/ qualitative research. Furthermore, Numagami (2000) attempted to overcome the shortcomings of case studies by writing up a case in meticulous detail. This chapter adopts the same approach and mitigates the shortcomings by uncovering and describing qualitative information regarding the strategies, organisational structures and operational procedures that remain constant over time in multiple original cases. When an organisation is studied carefully over an extended period of time, one can discern what makes it unique.

Before moving on it is necessary to verify whether or not the research methods that have been proposed can be used to study library management. Such case analyses would be based on document-based research and interviews, and the results and findings would be written down. The lack of management-related documentation at the libraries becomes problematic at this point. In comparison to a commercial organisation, there is a very low probability that library management plans - which typically serve as a cornerstone for management strategies - remain to document library management practices. Though library management may be regarded as being implicit, being unable to document library management practices over time challenges any attempt to conduct a secular analysis of library management strategies. Furthermore, this tendency is much stronger in Japan than in the United States. One of the reasons library management strategies have not been established as an area of study is likely their implicit nature. This may be one of the methodological challenges for library management research.

To overcome the challenge of elucidating the management practices and strategies of libraries, the author examined their organisational structure. The realm of organisational matters in relation to library management in many libraries includes organisational charts for each organisation, and written job descriptions that clarify employees’ responsibilities in detail. There are many archival documents that can be analysed. By considering the operational details that have become clear from a review of organisational charts and job descriptions, it is reasonable to consider the forms the organisations have taken to be analogous to the types of management strategies that had been adopted over the years. In this way, by considering the strategic matters and organisational matters as one part of library management, one is able to overcome the challenges of these secular case analyses.

The foregoing analysis has shown that it is important to use detailed case analyses of library organisations to construct strategies for library management. Several cases will be analysed as part of this research. As noted earlier, the first reason for doing so is that there are few extant documents describing library management. The second reason is that there is as wide a range of differences in library management as there are differences between commercial organisations, from which it is possible to expand and generalise using multiple case studies. Conducting detailed, multiple and secular analyses of library management cases will yield a much more robust management theory. The period of analysis is from the 1960s to the 2010s, because this period of time will allow us to understand the characteristics of the libraries that were first influenced by business administration in the 1960s, up to present-day libraries. It will be possible to analyse how business administration has influenced library management over time.

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