Dissertation Information for Gretchen L. Hoffman
MPACT Status: Fully Complete
Title: Negotiating normative institutional pressures and maintaining legitimacy in a complex work environment: A multiple case study of three academic cataloging units
Abstract: The user-centered approach to understanding information use and users has shaped research in library and information science (LIS). User-centered research has contributed to work in libraries, including work in reference, youth services, adult services, and management. Cataloging is specialized work that focuses on providing access to library materials using standards developed by the profession. Catalogers follow standards in order to be efficient in their jobs. In a user-centered environment, however, catalogers also are told to focus on users and adapt standards to meet users' needs. This dissertation describes a multiple case study of three academic cataloging units as they negotiate the demands to follow standards while adapting standards to meet users' needs. New institutional theory--specifically, DiMaggio and Powell's (1983) concept of normative institutional pressure--served as a framework for the study. The results suggest that standards and users are pressures that cataloging units negotiate in their jobs, along with demands for work efficiency and professional legitimacy. In the process of negotiating these pressures, catalogers and cataloging units redefine their work jurisdiction and maintain legitimacy to remain relevant in a complex work environment. Understanding how catalogers negotiate the normative institutional pressures of standards and users is beneficial. It leads to an understanding of the complex nature of work in areas that deal with issues of standards and users. It shows how an area within a profession maintains legitimacy when the profession no longer values that work. Finally, it shows the limits of the user-centered focus in LIS practice.
MPACT Scores for Gretchen L. Hoffman
Advisors and Advisees Graph
Students under Gretchen L. Hoffman