Leadership for Innovation: A South African Public Library Case Study

Marquard, Chanell (2016-03)

Thesis (MPA)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY: Change is constant and the ability of public libraries to innovate and adapt to change is critical to stay relevant and competitive in a technology-driven world where people are finding faster, smarter, accurate and more comfortable ways to gather information. Innovation in the public library will therefore not spontaneously take place. It is argued by Robbins and Judge (2011:636) that leadership is needed to drive this change and leaders should have the ability to stimulate creativity in the employees of the public library. This research submits evidence that the ability of leaders to stimulate innovative thinking in employees is dependent on certain inherent traits of the leader along with a leadership style. Determining the traits and leadership styles needed plays a role in equipping leaders to deal with the challenges change brings in public libraries that are rigid in their rules and regulations. The goal of this research will be to conduct an exploratory study of the traits and leadership styles used in the public library that has the ability to drive innovative thinking. This research will be divided into four phases. The first phase will give insight into the background of public libraries in South Africa through a review of the policies, legislation and institutionalisation of the public library. The second phase of the study will aim to give a theoretical review of the concepts of leadership, innovation, and leadership and innovation in the context of the public library. The third phase will analyse the current traits and leadership styles that stimulate innovative thinking in the public library and lastly the fourth phase will provide the findings of the study. The research showed that there has been a trend in traits and leadership styles in both theory and in practice that drives innovative thinking in employees. The traits, vision, charisma, good communication, motivation, decisiveness, energy, passion, intelligence, persistence against obstacles, enthusiasm and mainly knowledge have been named in theory and practice to be drivers of innovative thinking in employees. Along with the traits, it was identified that transformational leadership and charismatic leadership are leadership styles that drive innovative thinking in both theory and practice. Being aware of these leadership traits and styles that have been identified to drive innovative thinking in public library employees assists with bringing forth innovative ideas that could lead to public libraries staying relevant in this day and age. By specifying these traits and leadership styles, it also assists with the development of leaders and with recruiting staff as these traits identified in individuals are more likely to drive innovative thinking. Recommendations towards further study in this field serve to narrow down the sample and focus on the aspects of traits and leadership styles separately.

AFRIKAANS OPSOMMING: Verandering is konstant en die vermoë van openbare biblioteke om aan te pas by verandering is van kritieke belang om relevant en kompeterend in ’n tegnologie-gedrewe wêreld te bly waar mense vinniger, slimmer, akkurate en meer gemaklike maniere vind om inligting in te samel. Innovasie in die openbare biblioteek sal daarom nie spontaan plaasvind nie. Daar word aangevoer deur Robbins en Judge (2011: 636) dat leierskap nodig is om hierdie verandering te dryf en leiers moet die vermoë he om kreatiwiteit te stimuleer in die werknemers van die openbare biblioteek. Hierdie navorsing verskaf bewyse dat die vermoë van leiers om innoverende denke te stimuleer in werknemers afhanklik is van sekere inherente eienskappe van die leier en ’n leierskapstyl. Die bepaling van die eienskappe en leierskapstyle wat benodig word vir innovasie speel ’n rol om leiers toe te rus om die uitdagings wat verandering in openbare biblioteke wat rigied in reëls en regulasies is veroorsaak te kan hanteer. Die doel van hierdie navorsing sal wees om ’n verkennende studie van die eienskappe en leierskapstyle in die openbare biblioteek wat die vermoë het om innoverende denke aan te moedig uit te voer. Hierdie navorsing is in vier fases verdeel. Die eerste fase sal inligting oor die agtergrond van die openbare biblioteke in Suid-Afrika gee deur ’n hersiening van die beleid, wetgewing en institusionalisering van die openbare biblioteek. Die tweede fase van die studie sal poog om ’n teoretiese oorsig van die konsepte van leierskap, innovasie, en leierskap en innovasie te gee in die konteks van die openbare biblioteek. Die derde fase sal die huidige eienskappe en leierskapstyle wat innoverende denke in die openbare biblioteek kan stimuleer analiseer en laastens sal die vierde fase die bevindinge van die studie verskaf. Die navorsing het getoon dat daar ’n tendens in eienskappe en leierskapstyle in beide die teorie en in die praktyk is wat innoverende denke in werknemers dryf. Die eienskappe, visie, charisma, goeie kommunikasie, motivering, beslistheid, energie, passie, intelligensie, volharding teen struikelblokke, entoesiasme en veral kennis word in teorie en praktyk as dryfkrag van innoverende denke in werknemers geïdentifiseer. Saam met die eienskappe is bepaal dat transformasie-leierskap en charismatiese leierskap leierskapstyle is wat innoverende denke in beide teorie en praktyk te dryf. Deur bewus te wees van hierdie leierseienskappe en -style wat geïdentifiseer as die dryfkrag agter innoverende denke in die openbare biblioteek se werknemers help met die totstandbring van innoverende idees wat daartoe kan lei tot dat openbare biblioteke relevant sal by in hierdie dag en tyd. Deur hierdie eienskappe en leierskapstyle te spesifiseer, help ook met die ontwikkeling van leiers en met die werwing van personeel as hierdie eienskappe geïdentifiseer in individue is meer geneig om innoverende denke aan te moedig. Aanbevelings vir verdere studie in hierdie veld het ten doel om die steekproef te beperk en afsonderlik te fokus op die aspekte van eienskappe en leierskapstyle.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98714
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