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Negotiating Change
Uppsala University, University Library.
Uppsala University, University Library.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1912-106X
Uppsala University, University Library.
Uppsala University, University Library.
2017 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Uppsala University Library is one of the largest in Sweden, with a wide range of specialties – old collections, digital repositories and current support to faculty and students. In the last 18 month the library has gone through a re-organization with the aim to make the library more united – one library. The change is among the most comprehensive that the 400-year-old library has undergone.

The purpose of this paper is to describe how the library has developed ways of leading change by involving employees and managers at different levels in the change process. We focus on change management based on our experiences as change leaders. We will describe the major success factors and failures.

The re-organization was done in several steps. Library units were merged and three processes introduced; Media and Collections, Study and Research Support and Information Services.  A Program Leader was assigned to coordinate the re-organization in the fall of 2015 and in January 2016 three Process Managers were added to lead and to work with the change processes.

Within the processes, three working groups were established with the goal to present new workflows and services for digitization, working methods in library teaching and management of the virtual reference desk. Broad groups were set up with staff from all parts of the library. During the initial process a crucial point was to create a trusting and safe climate in the group to promote creativity and participation. Another key concept for success was to allow enough time for discussions and high sensitivity to when there were problems in the group that needed to be resolved, such as disagreement about a proposed solution. 

The aim with the broad working groups was to reach a broad acceptance of the Changes, and during the discussions they developed a joint understanding of the need for change and for the chosen solution. This meant that the pace of change was slower than expected from start, but also that the changes at the end where easier to implement.

Some of the resistance to change that appeard was due to different interpretations of the vision and reasons for re-organization. This shows that the understanding of the purposes of the changes also can influence the readiness for change. A success factor was to allow deeper discussions about the vision for the library and library services of the future.

Negotiations about the changes was held at all levels of the organization. Problems, options and solutions in the process mapping were discussed by leaders and managers regularly.  To gain approval for the changes, all processes also had reference groups where new ideas and proposals were discussed. Information meetings for all staff were also arranged.

Findings

In anchoring change at all levels we believe negotiation is a key concept. Openness for discussion contributes to a feeling of being included amongst employees as well as management at all levels. Negotiating change guarantees quality and substantiated decisions from both a user perspective and an organizational perspective. Negotiation has also been a way of reflective practice around goals, effectiveness, working methods and leadership. It is not a fast track to results but we believe that anchoring change at all levels is a key concept for long-term success.

Another success factor has been a joint change leadership between the Process Managers and the Program Leader. Leading change is a challenge even for an experienced leader. Step by step we created a strategy to lead the working groups through the change and created a joint change competency. 

Conclusions

The library has developed new ways of leading change by involving employees and managers at different levels in the change process.

Changes can result in lot of tension and resistance in the organization and the new methods  have been an important part in avoiding this – to include concerned groups in the process and to take time to anchor the change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. p. 1-5
National Category
Information Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-335393OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-335393DiVA, id: diva2:1162817
Conference
12th International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries, 31st July – 2nd August 2017, Oxford, UK
Available from: 2017-12-05 Created: 2017-12-05 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved

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