to soar above
Deakin University, Geelong, Australia
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss the case for change at Deakin University Library
and the change process adopted, and to explore organisational competences and the structural and
strategic outcomes achieved. The Library’s change process was driven by university strategic
priorities and ﬁnancial exigencies.
Design/methodology/approach – Change management theory is drawn on to illustrate that the
change process adopted is inﬂuenced by the state of the organisation and the state of urgency. Four
steps are outlined that encapsulate the process developed by the Library. These four steps draw on a
book by Kotter and Rathberger, Our Iceberg Is Melting. The concept of strategic organisational
competences as proposed by Thomson and Cole is adopted.
Findings – The case study demonstrates the need to take a structural and strategic view of the
organisation when developing new models of service and ways of operating. An organisation needs to
develop the capacity to manage both continuous and discontinuous change. The change process has
delivered improvements to the Library’s strategic and functional capabilities, as well as sustainable
cost savings. Client satisfaction surveys indicate the quality of service provision has not diminished.
Originality/value – The paper proposes a change process that may suit other organisations. It
advocates a simple conceptualisation of the process that will aid communication with key
stakeholders. Further, to achieve the desired strategic and structural outcomes, it is critical to assess
the strategic competence of the organisation.
Keywords Change management, Academic libraries, Australia, Management strategy, Competences
Paper type Case study
A real case for change
Change management theory and guides on how to implement organisational change
commonly refer to the need to build a convincing case for change. Some of the “cardinal
sins of misleading change efforts”, according to Omar Khan from Sensei International,
† Too much hype and not enough action
† Over-advertising how “massive” the change will be and then delivering only a tweaked
version of the current strategy
† Creating a consensus for dramatic change and then wasting a great deal of time in
† Make no change in senior leadership
† Involve no customers and ignore the marketplace (Khan, 2006).
One may consider that the case for change for Deakin University Library was clearly
evident. However, it would be unwise to start any change process with this
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Received 3 April 2007
Accepted 20 May 2007
Vol. 29 No. 1/2, 2008
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited