Organizational culture plays a critical role in creating a working environment where employees are committed and contribute to the success of the organization (Schein, 1985; Schein, 1990). Organizational culture is broadly defined as the collective understanding, a shared and integrated set of perceptions, memories, values, attitudes and definitions that have been learned over time and which determine expectations of behavior that are taught to new members as part of their socialization into the organization. Organizations have distinct cultures (Sannwald, 2000). It is the organizational culture that gives identity, provides collective commitment, builds social system stability and allows people to make sense of the organization. Over the past fifty years, researchers have completed organizational culture assessments of libraries. A full bibliography is accessible here for your reference and background reading. Previous assessments suggest that library cultures are conservative, traditional and bureaucratically controlled. Libraries place high priorities on constructive interpersonal relationships. Conflicts are avoided in libraries and interpersonal relationships are pleasant at least on the surface. Library cultures may be slow to diversify, to integrate new perspectives, ethnic and social groups.
Does this historical profile of the library culture hold in the 21st century? If so, will this culture allow libraries to continue as a core institution in the information sector? Will this cultural profile continue to attract younger professionals? Is this cultural profile attractive to information consumers in the 21st century? How does this cultural profile align with those of competitor organizations in the information sector?
Why is a national assessment important at this time? Until the beginning of the 21st century, libraries had few competitors for access to and provision of information products and services in the information sector. The situation has changed drastically with the emergence of low cost, portable, disposable and easy access to information products and services provided by new competitors such as online retailers such as Amazon.com and eBay.com, popular franchised bookstores such as Barnes and Noble.
Assessing organizational culture provides an opportunity to take stock of the future prospects and direction of an organization (Glock, 2008; Mobley, 2005; Schachter, 2005). By understanding the current culture, we can better understand the likely future trajectory of an organization. Preferred cultures can surface through discussions of cultural challenges, and by comparing that culture to the culture of competitor organizations. In the changing information environment, it is critical that libraries and librarians have a strong understanding of their organizational culture. Any significant change in organizations will touch organizational culture. Attempting change, without understanding culture carries high risks.
There are several tools that can be used to assess organizational culture. Please refer to the bibliography for additional references. This research uses the CultureActive methodology and tool (http://www.crossculture.com/services/online-tools/) developed by Richard D. Lewis (2007). This tool has been made available to the research team through an academic license.


We welcome and encourage participaton from all kinds of librares, from all regions of the country, and from those who work in any functional capacity of a lbrary. Before taking part in this study, please read the consent form below and click on the "I Agree" button at the bottom of the page if you understand the statements and freely consent to participate in the study.
Consent Form
This study involves a web-based survey. The study is being conducted by Dr. Denise Bedford, the Goodyear Professor of Knowledge Management at Kent State University. It has been approved by the Kent State University Institutional Review Board. No deception is involved, and the study involves no more than minimal risk to participants (i.e., the level of risk encountered in daily life).
Participation in the study typically takes less than 30 minutes and is strictly anonymous. Participation is limited to responding to the survey. The survey may be completed entirely online. All responses are treated as confidential, and in no case will responses from individual participants be identified. Rather, all data will be pooled and published in aggregate form only. Participants should be aware, however, that the experiment is not being run from a "secure" https server of the kind typically used to handle credit card transactions, so there is a small possibility that responses could be viewed by unauthorized third parties (e.g., computer hackers).
If participants have further questions about this study or their rights, or if they wish to lodge a complaint or concern, they may contact the principal investigator, Professor Denise Bedford at (301) 787-5257; or the Kent State University Institutional Review Board, at (330) 672-2704.



If you are 18 years of age or older, understand the statements above, and freely consent to participate in the study, click on the "I Agree" button to begin the experiment.

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