Framing Librarianship in the Academy: An Analysis Using Bolman and Deal’s Model of Organizations

Rachel A. Fleming-May, Kimberly Douglass


Since the earliest days of the profession, academic librarians have attempted to reconcile their status within the academy. This project takes a new approach to this effort by using Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal’s “Four Frames” model to analyze the issues. To more closely examine the dynamics, tensions, and implications associated with librarians’ professional status within the academy, we discuss the role of the academic librarian in the context of each of Bolman and Deal’s frames: Structural, Human Resource, Political, and Symbolic. In this discussion, we demonstrate that librarians are positioned to address human resource (as defined by Bolman and Deal), political, and symbolic factors contributing to their status within the academy. Also, while we establish that the relationship between library faculty and disciplinary faculty plays a role in library faculty status, we conclude that library faculty status is constructed by a number of forces. We further conclude that many of the political and symbolic conditions experienced by librarians are rooted in structural and human resource factors controlled by upper-level administration in both libraries and the universities.

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Copyright © 2014 Jingfeng Xia and Minglu Wang, Attribution-NonCommercial ( CC BY-NC

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