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This book addresses the challenges of organizing modern-day institutions, focusing on the management of intangible organizational resources of libraries through both library science and management theory. Highlighting new information requirements, knowledge transfer technologies and changing patterns of social behaviour, Intangible Organizational Resources explores how these changes are affecting the organization of information services such as libraries, and discusses what they mean for the effectiveness and quality of their services. Making a unique contribution in an otherwise under-explored field, this is an essential text for those involved in the organization of information services.



1. Intangible Resources in an Information Society

When discussing the problem of the functioning of libraries in an information society, two groups of factors that affect the method and quality of library operation may be distinguished. These are the external factors conditioned by the structure and nature of the environment, and the resources possessed by the library. Focusing on resources is typical of the resource-based theory. This theory, used for determining the strategic standing of an organisation, is fundamental for the analyses presented in this book.
Maja Wojciechowska

2. Characteristics and Analysis of Selected Intangible Organisational Resources Related to the Intellectual Capital

The term “intellectual capital” has existed in economics since the 1960s. It was used for the first time in 1969 by John Kenneth Galbraith in his letter to the Polish economist Michał Kalecki. However, the eighteenth century economist, philosopher, and author of An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith, noted that each person was a kind of capital and the specific skills of different nations constituted the major part of a state’s capital and could be the cause of their wealth. Galbraith defined intellectual capital as a person’s intellectual attributes or properties. As the economy developed, his theory was elaborated on and improved. Currently, the literature is incoherent on this issue, as various authors define this term in different ways. Intellectual capital is sometimes referred to as “human capital” or “knowledge capital,” but these concepts may also be understood to mean something completely different. Other terms that developed in association with the commercialisation of knowledge were “intellectual entrepreneurship,” used for the first time by the British deconstructionist and postmodernist Robert Chia [229, p. 15], and “intellectual profit” (see [412]). Sam Leif Edvinsson, the precursor of the intellectual capital trend, interchangeably uses such terms as “intellectual capital,” “knowledge capital,” “non-financial assets,” “hidden assets,” “invisible assets,” and “means to an end’ [100, p. 18].
Maja Wojciechowska

3. Characteristics and Analysis of Other Intangible Organisational Resources

The ability to build and implement productive strategies is becoming a valuable asset not only in commercial institutions but also, increasingly, in libraries. In recent years, there have been many projects to improve the strategic skills of libraries, which is necessary in view of the changes taking place in the external community of libraries. With libraries implementing multiple new models of operation, the significance of strategy is growing. As a result of technological and organisational innovations, the functioning of these institutions changes and they perform their core activity—information services provision—using many different strategies. The ability to implement a strategy is increasingly influenced by intangible resources and assets, such as motivational organisational culture, a visionary leader or positive reputation, and users’ confidence in projects undertaken by a library.
Maja Wojciechowska

4. Intangible Organisational Resource Management

Because of their specificity (e.g., problems with determining the actual limits, heterogeneity, changeability, and dependence on human behaviour; interpenetration and overlapping of resources; complementarity and interdependence), intangible resources must be comprehensively considered in the planning of management processes. Because the resources have a bilateral impact on one another in that one resource may strengthen or weaken another, an organisation must manage bundles of intangible resources, rather than individual isolated goods. The intangible resources of a library must be managed as an interconnected system, rather than as separate assets in the different organisational areas of a library. Such an approach, acknowledging the interdependencies between resources, is based on the holistic theory developed in the early twentieth century by Jan Smuts. This theory assumes that a whole cannot be analysed in the context of the value of its respective elements. The world around us is a hierarchical whole governed by certain regularities and rules. The rules governing the whole cannot be determined on the basis of the regularities and rules governing the elements of the whole. The contemporary holistic theory is used in many fields of science, including in resource-based theory. A simplified model of the interpenetration of intangible resources based on the holistic theory is shown in Fig. 4.1.
Maja Wojciechowska


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