Towards an information provision strategy for university libraries in Ghana : the relevance of recent developments in the United Kingdom to the needs of libraries in Ghana
The study explores the factors that affect the development of a strategic planning process aimed at improving the university libraries in Ghana's capacity to deliver information services effectively and efficiently. Since the structure of universities in Ghana is derived from that of universities in the United Kingdom, the project of necessity includes a consideration of current perceptions to the strategy process in some university libraries in the United Kingdom. The study adopts a multiple case study approach, exploiting the advantages of the use of a combination of varied data collection techniques. The methodology combines the interpretative and positivist methods using 5 case studies in Ghana and 5 in the United Kingdom in order to enhance representativeness. The data was collected from some major stakeholders and a sample of library staff in the universities in Ghana and the heads and deputies of library services in the case study libraries in the United Kingdom. The major findings are that: the major stakeholders and the library staff in the Ghanaian university libraries do not have a single, agreed articulated mission for their libraries; a multiplicity of strategic visions were found to be the subject of disagreement between decision makers and the library staff; the university libraries in Ghana lack the required resources-financial, human, and physical that could give them the strategic capability to provide effective services; the magnitude of the resource-performance relationship in the United Kingdom case studies was found to be strikingly greater than that of the Ghanaian case study institutions; the management style of the university libraries in Ghana is the autocratic type with a top down strategic decision making process and an obsession for control and discipline; the United Kingdom libraries have a relatively more stable political and economic environments than the Ghanaian university libraries whose decision makers are faced with highly unstable political and economic issues. It is argued that in view of these 'pitfalls' in the planning process in the university libraries in Ghana, the process as it is currently applied in the United Kingdom university libraries will not translate to Ghana. The study therefore suggests a new approach to strategy formulation in Ghanaian university libraries. It proposes a flexible strategic management concept which suits the dynamism of the macro and micro environments of the libraries where continual change is unlikely to make once-and-for-all adjustments an appropriate form of managing change. The libraries ought to be capable of inflicting as well as responding to unanticipated changes.