Organizational Culture for Recruitment, Hiring, Job Seeking, Diversity, and Change

Jasmine L. Clark
22 min readJul 29, 2021
Stock photo of 3 yellow sticky notes. The third has the text “Find Job” written on it in sharpie.
“Sticky notes — Find a Job” by flazingo_photos is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

In my last piece, “On JMLA, Conflict, and Failed Diversity Efforts in LIS,” I utilized organizational justice and cultural competence as frameworks for discussing failed conflict management in library and information science (LIS). In this piece, I will re-introduce these frameworks, and illustrate how they can be applied to the hiring and job hunting processes. Specifically, I will provide interview questions developed using the four categories of organizational justice and provide criteria for assessing candidate responses that support cultural competence, as well as diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA). I will also provide an original rubric to aid organizations in assessing organizational culture, as well as provide tips and information for job seekers to help them better assess potential employers.

Before going any further, I’d like to clarify that I will not be focusing on describing flaws in current practices, as much as I will be outlining recommendations for approaches that readers may find useful. I’d also like to clarify that both cultural competence and organizational justice are the outcomes of behaviors, not behaviors themselves. They name the “symptoms’’ of a (dys)functional organization, not the underlying condition. If organizations don’t put in the time and resources to read the appropriate literature and explore other frameworks (I get into other frameworks below), listen to marginalized voices, and assess their own culture and power imbalances, there is a chance that their efforts at change could more deeply entrench cultural intolerance and organizational injustice.

Cultural Competence and Its Continuum

Cultural Competence

I often pull definitions and frameworks from the medical and social work fields, as they often cover a vast array of demographics, social challenges, and staffing concerns. The definition of cultural and linguistic competence that I reference is from the Center for Disease Control:

…a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals that enables effective work in cross-cultural situations. ‘Culture’ refers to integrated patterns of human behavior that include the language, thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of racial, ethnic, religious, or social groups. ‘Competence’ implies having the capacity to function effectively as an individual and an organization within the context of the cultural beliefs, behaviors, and needs presented by consumers and their communities. (Adapted from Cross, 1989)[1].

Cultural competence requires that organizations:

  • Have a defined set of values and principles, and demonstrate behaviors, attitudes, policies, and structures that enable them to work effectively cross-culturally.
  • Have the capacity to (1) value diversity, (2) conduct self-assessment, (3) manage the dynamics of difference, (4) acquire and institutionalize cultural knowledge and (5) adapt to diversity and the cultural contexts of the communities they serve.
  • Incorporate the above in all aspects of policy making, administration, practice, service delivery, and involve systematically consumers, key stakeholders, and communities.

Cultural competence is a developmental process that evolves over an extended period. Both individuals and organizations are at various levels of awareness, knowledge, and skills along the cultural competence continuum.

The Cultural Competence Continuum

The Cultural Competence Continuum (CCC), also from Cross et al., consists of six areas of cross-cultural competence: destructiveness, where other cultures face overt hostility and are purposefully eradicated; cultural incapacity, where other cultures face de facto hostility and are eliminated unintentionally; cultural blindness (what I will call cultural denial)[2], where there is a belief of neutrality and emphasis on diversity quotas; pre-competence, where there’s an acknowledgement of weaknesses and attempts to begin addressing them; competence, where cultures are accepted and respected; and finally proficiency, where cultures are truly valued with ongoing development of inclusive approaches.

Before hiring a culturally competent individual, an organization needs to assess itself for cultural competence first. There are two reasons for this. The first goes back to my discussion of the impacts of failed conflict management. Burnout and the excision of diverse voices are the result of poor cultural competence. Exerting resources to recruit, interview, train, and pay a new employee that will end up resenting, and potentially terminating, their employment is a waste of resources for the organization, and an injustice to the employee. The second reason is that culturally competent employees will most likely attempt to make changes to their role and department that make each more inclusive. If an organization’s practices run counter to those values, organizations may as well stick to a focus on “cultural fit” which, I contend is often a coy way of saying that potential hires have to display the ability to cope with an organization’s unique blend of failures in organizational justice[3].

Providing explicit guidance on how organizations can become more culturally competent is not the purpose of this piece. There is a large body of research on changing/adapting organizational culture, with some contending that it’s not possible to truly change it at all. Organizational change is a topic all its own[4]. For information on causes of DEIA failure I, once again, refer you to Kaetrena Kendrick Davis’ work for library-specific research relevant to organizational culture and management, as well as the extensive body of work on leadership[5]. Additional frameworks and approaches, like cultural humility[6], critical race theory[7], and critical disability theory[8] have also been discussed in the LIS context. Additional cultural diversity frameworks like cultural safety, among others, also exist. There are also scholars that use an essentialist view (culture as an objective set of defined values, beliefs, and practices shared by a group, and associated culture with ethnicity and nationality) vs. constructionist view (culture as the product of social construction where people are considered to be agents that influence and are influenced by different conditions such as traditions and broader sociopolitical contexts) of culture for each framework, further diversifying approaches to each. From an implementation standpoint, each of these frameworks has their own assessment tools and definitions, however, they are by-in-large developed by/for the medical/social services fields. Data on their applicability within galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (my professional background) is limited. Due to its age, there is plenty of writing on cultural competence in libraries[9], hence my decision to use it from a constructionist viewpoint.

Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that because LIS organizations are often so underfunded, it is possible that the issues an organization faces may be more structural than cultural. There are places where the ingrained culture is not necessarily the problem, but a symptom of ineffective leadership and/or unethical employment practices put in place by outside entities (i.e. staff not being paid living wages after municipal cuts) are. In situations like this, staff generally trust their colleagues and want to continue working at an organization, but simply can’t afford to.

Because there are so many factors at play when it comes to changing organizations, the recommendations I’m making are for organizations that assess themselves and feel that they are at least at the point of pre-competence on the CCC. This means that an organization, at the very least, is at the point of:

  • Realization of weaknesses in working with other cultures
  • Implementation of training, assessment of needs, use of diversity criteria when hiring
  • Desire for inclusion, commitment to civil rights
  • Danger of false sense of accomplishment and “tokenism”

Organizations less far along on the CCC than this are either overtly hostile towards, or in denial of cultural differences. At the point of pre-competence, organizations are aware enough to move toward change. However, as the specification of potential “tokenism” indicates, there is still a risk that good intentions are marred by the predominant culture pushing other cultures into conforming, rather than collaborating.

A good example of this is when an organization, that has recently had an incident of racial discriminations, looks to address what, are now, acknowledged as structural problems. In order to do this, diversity training and programming are coordinated and the organization may hire a new, non-white diversity coordinator. The organization celebrates this step forward, but has not reserved recurring funds, nor made any strategic plans to sustain DEIA efforts beyond this point. In this situation, DEIA was seen and handled as a staffing problem, not a cultural one.

The Guggenheim went through this very scenario fairly recently. After mistreating Chaedria LaBouvier, its first Black curator, it has hired Naomi Beckwith as its First Black Chief Curator. Anyone listening to Labouvier’s account, combined with the very white history of the Guggenheim, could ascertain that the changes that need to be made are deeply cultural. However, hiring one person is not a cultural change. It is yet to be seen whether this is part of a larger, ongoing effort on the Guggenheim’s part, but if it is not, there is the risk that their newest curator, as is the case in many organizations, will be isolated, antagonized, frustrated, or otherwise tokenized and rendered ineffective. This common trap can be countered by hiring experienced agents of change. This could mean hiring an experienced consultant, or filling managerial positions with employees experienced with implementing the changes an organization is looking for.

Please note that I used the plural when discussing filling permanent positions. One diversity coordinator can not implement organizational change. Identifying points of power in the organization, and placing staff with experience supporting the organization’s proclaimed values at those points, is the only way to support change. This could be done a number of ways; even hiring diversity coordinators for each department could, in theory, work if they were given real administrative weight.

Aside from that, I want to point out that I have repeatedly used the word “experienced.” Not every person from a marginalized group is a cultural expert, and not every cultural expert has experience managing people and policy. Agents of change should have a track record of developing inclusive procedures and workflows with equitable management expectations. All of this is predicated on the understanding of organizational justice and power.

Organizational Justice and Power

In my last piece discussing the JMLA situation, I touched on the need to assess power imbalances. The main reason that I didn’t expand much on assessing power in that previous piece is that there are plenty of models for describing types of power that one could use[10] and I don’t want to focus on power as a singular, abstract concept (i.e. “what is power?”), as much as power in the context of supporting organizational justice and cultural competence (i.e. “what types of power are at play in organizational justice and cultural competence?”). With that being said, for the purposes of the framework I offer, power is defined as the ability to influence or control the four categories of organizational justice. Those are:

  • Interactional justice: fairness/justice in interpersonal interactions.
  • Distributive justice: fairness/justice in the outcomes of decisions.
  • Informational justice: fairness/justice in the way information is shared.
  • Procedural justice: fairness/justice in existing governing policies and procedures.

Individuals who exert interactional power include those involved in interpersonal interactions, as well as those who have the power to determine the outcome of interpersonal conflicts (like human resources); those who have the ability to make decisions that impact others exert distributive power; those who control the flow of information have informational power; and those who can effect change in policy and procedure have procedural power. These types of power can be assessed on both an individual and corporate level. An individual, like a library director, may have distributive power, but so can a board of directors. A conflict may be between two individuals, but there is a chain of command through which complaints are funneled that will ultimately determine whether interactional justice is administered.

Interviewing for Cultural Competence

Comic of 2 stick figures, one coded male interviewing another coded female, sitting on opposite sides of a table with a piece of paper in front of the interviewer. The text bubble indicates the interviewer is saying “And what would you say is your greatest weakness?”
“Job Interview Question: What Is Your Greatest Strength?” by thedailyenglishshow is licensed under CC BY 2.0

With these terms defined, my recommendations in this section can be defined as ways organizations can hire with cultural competence in mind by assessing a candidate on their DEIA knowledge and awareness of organizational power dynamics. This does not mean that candidates are expected to be scholars of organizational psychology and corporate culture. Instead it means that the priorities expressed in a job description and interview are aimed at understanding a candidate’s professional ethos and how a candidate sees themselves as part of an organization just as much as they are aimed at understanding their vocational capabilities.

In this section, for the sake of clarity and brevity, I provide interview questions to consider and adapt, as well as an explanation as to why I make the recommendation that includes how to assess candidate responses to them. I have asked all of these questions in modified formats during formal interviews, or during informal conversations with librarians from marginalized groups while trying to give them feedback on whether they would be treated well at an organization. The questions can be altered or excluded to be more specific to the type of work a position requires. One last helpful tip is to send interview questions out in advance. It’s more inclusive of disabled people and will give candidates a chance to provide stronger answers.

DEIA Knowledge

Questions you could consider:

  • In your own words, how would you define Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility?
    a. As it pertains to patrons?
    b. As it pertains to staff?
  • What is a major ethical concern, related to DEIA that you are interested in addressing?
  • What are some courses, webinars, readings, or other learning opportunities related to diversity that you have engaged in? Were you able to apply what you learned to your work?

When it comes to DEIA questions, they should invite candidates to display topical knowledge, as well as knowledge regarding sources for continuing education. Candidates should display a familiarity with basic diversity practices and ethical considerations such as structural discrimination, demographics of the field, discriminatory practices within their functional area, and an understanding of what DEIA is. This could be displayed via a familiarity with relevant publications, data points, and authors from diverse backgrounds. No one person knows everything about DEIA concerns. The goal is to find someone who has enough knowledge of, and interest in, diversity requirements relevant to their functional area to integrate best practices into their work.

Navigating Organizational Power Dynamics


Questions you could consider:

  • Name a time you had to navigate the way a decision, that you were responsible for, impacted others.
  • Were there disproportionate impacts that you had to manage?

These questions are aimed at gauging how aware a candidate is of their impact on others and how they navigate those dynamics.

Responses to these questions should acknowledge their role in a decision in a forthright manner, explain the potential risks that were at play, and avoid idealizing outcomes. For example, in interviews where I’ve asked an altered version of this question (more specific to the job position), responses that focused on the material successes of a decision (we saw an increase in interest from patrons), while downplaying or overlooking the impacts on staff (no mention of how they prepared staff for increased levels of work), immediately raised a red flag. Strong responses should be honest and show balanced consideration for various variables, but, most importantly, should prioritize the well-being of staff and vulnerable populations (patrons who are vulnerable to harm or exploitation, for example). This is a candidate’s chance to show whether or not they calculate power imbalances and harm, as well as how they calculate those things.


Questions you could consider:

  • Can you give an example of one very strong policy you’ve encountered?
  • Can you give an example of one policy you’d like to see eliminated or changed?
  • What changes would you make to either?
  • What challenges could you foresee in making those changes?

These questions are meant to gauge how experienced a candidate is in managing policy. Changing, drafting, and enforcing policies requires administrative knowledge, political knowledge, technical knowledge, and consideration of those impacted.

A strong response should communicate why a policy is(n’t) effective, the reasons for a policy’s existence, the forces at play in maintaining it (politics, apathy, neglect, etc.), and the requirements for implementation.


Questions you could consider:

  • In this type of position, what are the primary forms of communication you see as necessary between those you report to/those who report to you/those who you work with?
  • Why are these forms of communication valuable?

Questions about communication skills aren’t particularly efficient because the way a candidate communicates can be situational, depending on things like the culture of the organization, their relationship with the other party involved in a situation, and how they’re feeling in the moment. Instead, ensuring that they have a holistic view of the importance of information and communication with others is more effective.

Good responses should indicate that they see information sharing as more than just a logistical necessity. Communication builds trust and communicates value. Who one chooses communicates with, in what order of the decision making process, and in how much detail tells the other party how valued their input and comfort is. Strong responses to these questions should show that a candidate sees information as having relationship building value, not just as a technical requirement. If you are concerned about a candidate being able to adapt to different forms of communication, a question asking them how they keep track of it all will address that.


Not questions, but things you should communicate:

  • “We expect all employees to display a strong respect for professional and personal boundaries. This means:
    a. Work ends at [time work ends] so there will be no penalizing colleagues for not responding after hours.
    b. Positional/departmental jurisdiction is respected.
    c. Demands for unpaid labor, or increased labor with no plan for support are unacceptable.
    d. Boundaries around personal space, possessions, personal privacy, and other information that is not pertinent to your own work are to be respected and vice versa.


  • List policies and laws followed.
  • Describe reporting system and turnaround.
  • Overall organizational identity (more below).

Asking someone if they get along well with others is very subjective and hard to gauge. It’s more effective for an organization to make it clear that they won’t tolerate interactional injustice by laying out expectations from the beginning. Taking the time to communicate this during the interview (and in the job description) offers the candidate a chance to clarify policies and see that the organization takes these matters seriously. That is, if they take them seriously…

Assessing Organizational Readiness and Communicating Organizational Identity During Recruitment

Comic of 2 stick figures, one coded female interviewing another coded male, sitting on opposite sides of a table with pieces of paper in front of the interviewer. The text bubble indicates the interviewer is saying “We’re looking for someone who is responsible?”
“Responsible” by thedailyenglishshow is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Before organizations can recruit for these features, they have to have cultures and environments that support them. Does an organization support professional development? Does the organization have a culture that respects professional boundaries? Does it respect the expertise of its staff? Does it use “innovation” and “collaboration” as an excuse to undermine jurisdictional boundaries (asking people to learn new skills and pick up additional work to avoid hiring a new position)? Does it ask for unpaid work? Does it leverage Vocational Awe as an excuse for demanding constant staff attention at all hours of the day, or that staff put themselves in danger? If an organization isn’t ethically treating its employees (ensuring they are paid fairly, have benefits, and are physically safe), or providing opportunities for staff to develop and maintain the skill it’s demanding of them, it can’t expect its diversity efforts to succeed.

Aside from simply being a good employer, recruiting the right candidates requires having, as well as communicating, a strong set of values. In regards to this, organizational Identity (OI) is another useful concept. OI, like organizational justice, is a prominent research topic in management and organizational change. Since its conceptualization in 1985 by Albert and Whetten[11], there have been many attempts to define OI. For the purposes of defining OI in this piece, I will quote He and Brown (2013)[12]:

…organizational identity is about ‘self-referential meaning’, that is, ‘an entity’s attempts to define itself’ (Corley, et. al. 2006, p. 87), and implicates questions such as ‘who are we?’ and ‘who do we want to become?’ (p. 5)

I recommend He and Brown’s article because, not only does it provide a strong overview of OI as a concept, but it is also open access. While I have encountered many LIS organizations that have a strong sense of professional values as it pertains to the services they provide (the aforementioned concept of “Vocational Awe” is evidence of this), many LIS organizations lack an explicit OI as it pertains to their working cultures.

If you were to ask your director/dean/head administrator to define the organization’s values around professionalism, workplace conduct, management, etc. (OI is linked and, debatably, interchangeable with organizational culture; more on my stance below), would they be able to provide a coherent, generally understood response? Would there be a readily identifiable document or source to reference? Or would they give you vague responses based on expectations from human resources (HR), legal guidelines, and other legislative entities? For many LIS organizations, workplace culture is subsumed by expectations around meeting the needs of patrons.

In short, management has plenty to say when it comes to how staff are expected to treat users, but is often selectively vague regarding how staff should be treated. Administrators will say that patrons should feel respected, welcomed, or satisfied, but won’t say that staff are to feel the same. Instead, a reactive approach is taken where HR is supposed to manage things when they go wrong, but there may be no expectation of redress or structural change unless there is legal action. This is where the value of unionizing is apparent, but that is a soapbox that I will save for another day. The point is that in order for an organization to successfully recruit employees who will likely enjoy working there and stay, it will have to be able to communicate the environment it purposefully constructs for its workers. OI, organizational culture, or whatever other construct you’d like to use, has to be explicit so that like-minded candidates and organizations can connect.

How I Define & Assess Organizational Culture

I see a difference in organizational culture (OC from here on) and OI. For me, OI, as defined in the previous section, includes aspiration; what the organization aspires to be. I consider OC to be much more about what is. Before an organization can aspire to change and develop a new OI, it needs to define its existing OC.

During a community of practice at my place of work, OC was brought up in the context of discussing the concept of cultural fit. The question of how one would define and explain our workplace culture was asked and it was interesting to watch how people struggled to define it. At the time, I knew that I framed organizational culture around power dynamics, and that I had explained workplace cultures to incoming candidates of color in those terms, but I wanted to articulate that more explicitly and clearly.

The way I define and assess organizational culture, from a functional standpoint, is:

The mechanisms by which an organization endows, removes, adjusts, and otherwise manipulates power.

Organizations exist to carry out a function. In order for LIS organizations to do that, they create hierarchies that employ, manage, develop, and enforce duties. The means by which members of those organizations are motivated, rewarded, enabled, supported, organized, and disciplined form the basis of workplace culture. In the context of my selected framework, organizational justice, that translates into:

Interactional: The types of interpersonal interactions an organization encourages/discourages.

  • Does an organization host/encourage happy hours, staff parties, and general social time, or is it more focused on tasks and user services? Does it aspire to a family-like, corporate, etc. atmosphere?

Distributive: How an organization makes and assesses decisions.

  • Is it democratic or very top-down? Does it listen and respond to concerns and complaints from those affected by decisions?

Informational: The types of information an organization shares, who it shares that information with, and how it’s shared.

  • Is information shared openly and easy to access? Is it restricted and on a need to know basis? Is there a sense of transparency?

Procedural: What an organization does and does not regulate.

  • Where there are explicit policies and consequences, who do they impact? Are they reactive or proactive? Who gets a say in the creation and enforcement of policies (service policies, internal workflow regulation and maintenance, selection of guidelines and standards, etc.)? How are the recipients of rewards, incentives, and disciplinary action decided?

Upon thinking about it, I realized that, when I speak to MLIS students and job seekers, I grade organizations using this as a rubric of sorts. Because everyone is different, I found that it helps to describe organizational culture in each category and let candidates decide what suits them. DEIA concerns can be present in all areas. I don’t share this to be prescriptive, but to help others think through defining their own workplace cultures and better understand potential failures and dysfunctions they may be witnessing. The reader may even come to define their own rubric and definition of OC based on an entirely different framework.

As I said, I will not be going into OC change, but I will say that defining what an organization currently is, is the first step to assessment and change. I recommend developing an OI to provide direction, but being honest about OC can also help make more efficient, honest recruitment decisions. I’ve seen organizations make hiring decisions based on what they like to believe they are, but then leave the new hire frustrated and disappointed when they are shut down or unsupported. It’s not always about fit, but about having the resources to support the work a candidate wants to do.

This also applies to job seekers. I personally try to get as much of an understanding of these power dynamics as possible during interviews. As a candidate, there are areas that you may consider more important than others. No organization is perfect, but organizations tend to be stronger in certain areas and weaker in others. The weaknesses that will be deal breakers vary from person to person and it helps to know what yours are. For those on the job market, I’ve developed the following rubric.

Screenshot of the Organization Justice Culture Rubric.
Screenshot of Rubric. For doc version, follow the above link.

Scores are not necessarily a value judgment. The interactional score, for example, could be entirely dependent on preference. I personally find that I can adapt to low scores in the first three areas, but will lose my composure if an organization scores low in the procedural category. An organization must score a minimum of three to four there, depending on scores in the other areas, for me to find an organization tolerable.

To assess whether an organization scores sufficiently well, when I look at jobs, or interview, I look for references to specific policies and guidelines, as well as examples of enforcement (if they say they adhere to Section 508, is their website compliant?). Ways to roughly assess where a potential employer scores in other areas include:

  • Listening for how much each area is emphasized in questions and explanations.
    a. Does the job description or interviewer(s) mention information pertinent to any of these areas (i.e. “we have great holiday parties” is an interactional indicator)?
  • Asking about reporting structures and budgetary priorities.
    a. How many people will a position directly report to/work with?
    b. How many people are involved in making decisions at the departmental/organizational levels (helpful if you can locate an organizational chart or page that lists staff and their titles)?
    c. Funding indicates value. Asking something along the lines of “what are some of the most recent initiatives the organization has launched?” will give you an idea of its focus.
    d. Looking at staff pages and assessing how staff are distributed across departments is also an indicator of funding and departmental health/value (i.e. if you’re interviewing for a cataloging position, it’s a red flag if an extremely large research library has only one cataloger at the moment).
  • Looking at annual reports (often available through development departments) and salaries (for public institutions).
    a. While reports for donors can sugar coat things, they still provide insight.
    b. State schools and other public institutions usually have their salaries posted publicly.
  • Talking to staff and assessing how readily they can answer relevant questions is important.
  • Asking how internal information is shared. — Is there an internal newsletter, intranet, etc.
  • Attempting to search for relevant information on your own.
    a. How easy is it to locate the DEIA, service, and other front facing policies/information?
  • Ask about procedures and policies, as well as how many staff are assigned to managing them.
    a. What’s the ratio of human resources/administrative positions to the rest of staff?
    b. What standards and laws does the organization adhere to?

Some of these metrics may be hard to interpret for those newer to the field, but having a mentor or colleague experienced enough to understand their implications will greatly help in making a conscious decision while on the job market. This rubric isn’t meant to be the end all be all, just a way to help organize thoughts and priorities regarding your potential workplace. For those looking to define their own OC, this may help provide a starting place. Recruitment committees looking to integrate or adapt the interview questions I list above may also want to use this rubric to determine whether those questions are appropriate for the realities of their organization. As organizations look to develop their OC’s, it is crucially important that they be able to define what they are before they can define what they aspire to be. A better overall understanding of organizational strengths and weaknesses by staff and leadership will allow for more productive dialog around problem solving. I hope that readers find the questions and rubric I’ve developed useful in guiding them towards fully articulating the challenges they are facing in the profession.

  1. Cross, T., Bazron, B., Dennis, K., & Isaacs, M. (1989). Towards a culturally competent system of care (Vol. 1). Washington, DC: Georgetown University Child Development Center, CASSP Technical Assistance Center.
  2. While the CCC makes use of the term “cultural blindness,” I would like to point out the way ableism is being used to further the avoidance of accountability. For example, it is not the case that a white person is “unable to see race”; they are choosing to deny its existence, which is a form of white privilege afforded under white supremacy. Because whiteness in the United States is by default labeled “American,” white people are able to appropriate, erase, and profit from the various non-white, marginalized cultures. Jazz becomes American, not African-American. The use of blindness in this case, to imply the inability to do the right thing, also implies that disability equates to a free pass from responsibility. This is a key recurrence in the intersection of disability and race. White terrorists are “mentally ill,” enslaved people who wished for freedom were “drapetomaniacs.” This furthers the perception of disabled people as monsters and/or further justifies their infantilization, which is a common rhetorical tool used to justify the oppression of disabled people. To learn more about ableism and the advocacy disabled people are engaged in, I recommend checking out the Disability Visibility Project. They have a great reading list with diverse voices represented.
  3. For a good entry into the problems with the idea of “cultural fit”: Cunningham, S., Guss, S., & Stout, J. (2019, April 10–13). Challenging the ‘Good Fit’ Narrative: Creating Inclusive Recruitment Practices in Academic Libraries. In Mueller, D.M. (ed.), Recasting the Narrative: The Proceedings of the ACRL 2019 Conference, Cleveland, Ohio (pp. 12–21). Cleveland, Ohio: ACRL.
  4. For those looking to learn more, Oxford Bibliographies provides a useful introduction to organizational change. Other relevant terms to search include “Management of Change” and “Corporate Culture” (these are subject headings that are useful when searching in library catalogs).
  5. The Leadership Quarterly is worth looking into for up to date, peer-reviewed research on leadership.
  6. I have had it asked why I chose cultural competence (CC) instead of cultural humility (CH). This goes back to how I’m using it. I see CC as a diagnostic framework and CH as a set of behaviors. I don’t see them as 1:1 frameworks. CH could be a stage on the CC continuum, but is not an assessment continuum on its own. Others may disagree with my assessment. For an entry to the discussion, Hurley et. al is a good starting point, though they focus on patron interactions, while I am more interested in staff experiences: Hurley, D.A., Kostelecky, S.R. & Townsend, L. (2019). Cultural humility in libraries. Reference Services Review, 47(4), 544–555.
  7. Disrupting Whiteness in Libraries and Librarianship: A Reading List,” from the Gender and Women’s Studies Librarian at the University of Wisconsin is good place to look if you want to locate and share readings on anti-racism, decolonization, diversity, etc.
  8. I recommend Volume 67, Number 3, Winter 2019 of Library Trends and Schomberg, J. J., and Highby, W. (2020). Beyond accommodation: Creating an inclusive workplace for disabled library workers. Sacramento. CA: Library Juice Press.
  9. Beloit has an extensive guide on the subject “Cultural Competency for Academic Libraries.”
  10. Many are variants of, French and Raven’s Five Forms of Power: French, J. & Raven, B. (1959). The Bases of Social Power. In D. Cartwright (Ed).,Studies in Social Power (pp. 150–167). Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research.
  11. Albert, S. , & Whetten, D. A. (1985). Organizational identity. Research in Organizational Behavior, 7, 263–295. (link downloads a PDF)
  12. He, H., & Brown, A. D. (2013). Organizational Identity and Organizational Identification: A Review of the Literature and Suggestions for Future Research. Group & Organization Management, 38(1), 3–35.



Jasmine L. Clark

I’m the Digital Scholarship Librarian @ Temple U. My primary areas of research are DEIA & metadata in emerging technologies/organizations.