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Dissertation Information for Jinnie Yeh Davis

NAME:
- Jinnie Yeh Davis

DEGREE:
- Ph.D.

DISCIPLINE:
- Library and Information Science

SCHOOL:
- Indiana University (USA) (1980)

ADVISORS:
- David Kaser

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
- George Whitbeck
- Charles Wise
- Clayton A. Shepherd

MPACT Status: Fully Complete

Title: INDIVIDUALS, INFORMATION, AND STRUCTURE IN THE ESTABLISHMENT OF OCLC: A STUDY OF INNOVATION DECISION MAKING

Abstract: In 1967, the decision-making processes of a group of academic librarians in the Ohio College Association (OCA) led to the incorporation of the Ohio College Library Center (OCLC). This study investigates the conditions under which the librarians decided to select an innovative alternative that established the first cooperative, on-line bibliographic data base in the world. In particular, it focuses upon three major variables of decision making: (1) the homogeneity or heterogeneity of the individuals involved; (2) the information on which their decisions were based and the information-processing techniques they used; and (3) the structural features of communication and the organizational setting.

Data for the study came from several primary and secondary sources, including official minutes, reports, and correspondence, and personal memoranda and correspondence obtained from pertinent institutional archives and personal collections. In addition, ten committee members participated in an eleven-item mail questionnaire and a twenty-four-item telephone survey.

The first part of this work depicts the state of higher education and academic librarianship in the early sixties. Ohio's academic libraries were suffering from the postwar pressures of expanding curricula and student enrollments, but their financial, human, and material resources were inadequate to meet those demands. Out of this situation arose the recognition by librarians and administrators in Ohio of a performance gap and the subsequent appointment by the OCA of a series of Committees of Librarians to explore its resolution through interlibrary cooperation. The activities of the Committees of 1963/64, 1964/65, and 1965/66 are described in detail.

In the second part of this study, the decision-making processes are analyzed according to Herbert Simon's model, divided into intelligence activity, design activity, and choice activity phases. Two major sequences of decision making are evident; for the purposes of this study, the participants in the first period (1963/64 to 1964/65) were labelled Group A, and those in the second (1965/66), Group B. Group A followed the mode of decision making described by Simon as "satisficing" and by Lindblom as "incremental." Group B's decision making, on the other hand, culminated in the selection of an innovative alternative.

Six hypotheses relating to the three variables of individuals, information, and structure were tested, based on the premises of the creative decision-making strategy and of organizational innovation described by Dror, March and Simon, and Shull, Delbecq, and Cummings. For this case of decision making, it was found that the variables of information and structure had greater effect on the innovation decision than did that of the individuals involved. In particular, the acquisition of new information of external developments led to Group B's redefinition of the problem and its recognition of the applicability of new technology.

This study fills a gap in the early history of what is now OCLC, Inc., the largest bibliographic utility in the world. In addition, it is expected to contribute to an understanding of the circumstances under which innovation decisions can occur in group settings.

MPACT Scores for Jinnie Yeh Davis

A = 0
C = 0
A+C = 0
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2008-01-31 06:07:16

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Students under Jinnie Yeh Davis

ADVISEES:
- None

COMMITTEESHIPS:
- None