Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education/Higher Education Administration

First Advisor

Jay R. Dee

Second Advisor

Judith Gill

Third Advisor

Daniel Z. Ortiz


The practice of merging academic library and information technology (IT) units began in the early 1980s with the growth of technology applications in higher education. Mergers have been initiated for a variety of reasons, including streamlining services, consolidating budgets, maximizing information technologies for teaching and research, and new buildings. Merging two different work units, however, is problematic structurally and culturally as professional work roles are redefined and established organizational norms are challenged. Using the framework of structuration theory, a total of fifty employees from three merged library and IT units were interviewed on their experiences before, during, and after their respective units were merged.

The different ways that employees engaged in the change process revealed the recursiveness of structures, cultures, and agency on merger planning and implementation. Findings revealed that: 1) employees engage with new organizational structures based on the extent to which their daily work responsibilities change; 2) professional identity frames employee sensemaking of organizational culture change initiatives; and 3) employee agency is motivated by perceived ability to improve one's situation within the merged organizational environment. The importance of occupational subcultures and professional identity to both library and IT employees was a significant contributor to how employees engaged in the change process. Employee perceptions and stereotypes (both accurate and inaccurate) of members of the other work unit were confirmed across cases. Recommendations for practice are provided for higher education presidents, other executive-level leaders, managers implementing library-IT mergers, and employees experiencing the library-IT merger process or working in a merged library-IT organization.


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