whole_WatersDavidHugh1986_thesis.pdf (7.25 MB)
University library administration, with special reference to new technology : a Tasmanian case study
thesisposted on 2023-05-27, 15:13 authored by Waters, D H(David Hugh)
This thesis examines the impacts of new technology on university library administration as reflected in a case study. The institution chosen for the study is the University of Tasmania Library, which has recently adopted a totally integrated automated library system based on the Library's own mini-computer. The opening chapter introduces the topic, and puts forward five propositions. These include propositions about the use of new technology to reinforce the organization's niche within the parent institution; the role of technology in environmental turbulence and uncertainty; the effects of new technology on routineness, standardization, formalization and flexibility; the structural impacts of new technology; and the human and social impacts upon organization members. The chapter continues with a review of relevant literature, and concludes with a description of the methodology employed. Subsequent chapters consider the University Library in the light of each of the propositions. Two chapters are devoted to the background and particular circumstances of the organization - one on its history, nature and technology, and another on its task environment. The nature of the technology employed by the University Library is then examined in more detail in an attempt to classify it. Perrow's scale of routineness is chosen as a suitable classification scheme, and the effects of automation on the level of routineness of the organization's technology are considered. A tendency towards increased routineness, standardization and formalization is observed, but there is little corresponding loss of flexibility. Rather, new opportunities for creativity and flexible services are noted. Structural impacts of the introduction of automated systems are examined. While the formal structure remains virtually unchanged, there are changes occurring in the informal organization. The results of a survey of organization members indicate that the human impacts of automation generally have been minor, although a small group of employees experiencing loss of job satisfaction and deteriorating social relationships is identified. Finally, the impacts observed in the case study are considered in the context of the particular circumstances of the University of Tasmania Library - its history, nature, technology, environment and management, as described in the earlier chapters - and concludes that these are all contributing factors to the nature of the impacts of the introduction of new automated systems in the particular organization.
Rights statementCopyright 1985 the Author Thesis (M.A.)--University of Tasmania, 1986. Bibliography: leaves 233-239