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A structural contingency theory model of library and technology partnerships within an academic library information commons

, Indiana University, United States

Doctor of Philosophy, Indiana University . Awarded


The integration of librarians and technologists to deliver information services represents a new and potentially costly organizational challenge for many library administrators. To understand better how to control the costs of integration, the research presented here will use structural contingency theory to study the coordination of librarians and technologists within the information commons (IC), a unit of the academic library. Contingency theory seeks to optimize the organizational structures necessary for coordinating partner workflows; it suggests that coordinative structures should be congruent with workflow interdependence. In other words, as workflow interdependence increases, the complexity of coordination necessary to integrate the workflows should also increase. To examine this theory, the work presented here will: (a) test for a positive relationship between coordination and interdependence; (b) test for correlation between perceptions of IC performance and interdependence and coordination congruency; and (c) explore the contingency theory expectation that behavioral differentiation positively affects coordination.

To examine contingency theory expectation within an academic IC, the researcher first collected a sample of ICs, developed the measures necessary to test contingency theory expectations, and conducted the analysis to confirm or deny the expectations. The findings confirmed contingency theory's expectations of a positive relationship between interdependence and coordination, and that greater levels of congruency between interdependence and coordination will lead to higher levels of unit performance. The predicted positive relationship between behavioral differentiation and coordination was not found.


Tuai, C.K. A structural contingency theory model of library and technology partnerships within an academic library information commons. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, Indiana University. Retrieved July 23, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 22, 2013. [Original Record]

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