Back to top

Organizational Storytelling in Academic Libraries: Roles, Perceptions and Addresses

Author: 
Colon-Aguirre, Monica
Committee Members: 
Dr. Edwin Cortez
Date: 
August 2012

Abstract: Libraries have survived throughout millennia while retaining particular characteristics that help define them as organizations. This study focuses on academic libraries, by exploring the world of the academic library employee through one of the most recent alternatives to organizational studies: knowledge management. Knowledge management is a relatively new approach to management, which focuses on people as the main components of organizations, and explores ways in which the knowledge created by them allows organizations to innovate and compete successfully. Storytelling is one of the ways knowledge is transferred among employees. This qualitative study explores the perceptions academic reference librarians have regarding the stories that are shared among employees with similar responsibilities. The findings show that the organizational storytelling taking place among the participants centers mostly on: stories as a warning system, stories told for the purpose of finding comfort, stories told in order to prepare others, and stories that explain current working conditions. In addition, this study found that the knowledge being transferred was tacit and emphasized social interactions. Five main themes emerged from the data: unusual patrons, former supervisors, poor administrators, former employees, and past crises. The results also point at the participants’ having negative perspectives regarding the role of the stories they share, with many classifying them as gossip.