Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as McGregor, F, Quality management/change management: two sides of the same coin?, in Library management in a changing environment, Proceedings of the 25th IATUL Conference, Kraków, Poland, volume 14, 30 May - 3 June 2004. Original conference proceedings available here.


Change management strategies, as discussed in the literature, commonly share similar approaches and processes. Quality management or business excellence frameworks include many of the elements seen to be essential to effective change management. By adopting a management framework, a holistic approach to organisational change, development and innovation can be achieved. Instead of managing change as a series of events, a system wide approach is adopted. The disparate elements of effective management practice: human resources, industrial relations, customer relationship management, leadership strategies and planning processes are all integrated in a model underpinned by a systems approach and informed by systematic data collection, information and knowledge management. Through constant review of all activities and analysis of data, as recommended by quality frameworks, staff are more aware of the need for improvement, innovation or other change events and more likely to be involved in effective management of the constant change which characterises the library and information environment. The University of Wollongong Library (UWL) adopted the Australian Business Excellence Framework in 1994 as a means of managing the changes affecting almost every facet of our traditional library “business”. Subsequently, UWL applied for recognition in the Australian Business Excellence Awards and was recognised in 2000. The most challenging aspect of the ‘quality journey’ was the development of measures and indicators to enable assessment of progress against goals and strategies. Measuring performance against a recognised business excellence or quality framework can deliver a range of benefits for libraries. These include recognition both within and outside the university and library sectors and the reinforcement of a culture of assessment. The involvement of staff in all stages of addressing the requirements of the Australian Business Excellence Framework and of preparation for the Award audit, delivered all of the benefits of change management theory and more. Staff benefited from the training and development associated with quality management, they were empowered by their access to data and information for decision making and rewarded by the recognition the Library received as an Australian Business Excellence Award winner.