Faculty Research: Peter Hernon

One area of Professor Peter Hernon's research looks at the directors of academic libraries and involves the use of different methodologies. One study, which merits replication, included sixteen directors from institutions of various sizes and asked them to keep a diary (a type of formal data collection instrument) for a two-week period during which they recorded all work-related activities. Other studies have examined the leadership qualities, either for emotional intelligence or distributed (shared) leadership, that directors for the next fifteen years should possess. This research drew on the Delphi technique and identified the most important qualities, ones that might be shared among the senior management team. More recently, Dr. Hernon has looked at scenarios and alternative visions of the future as viewed by directors of libraries whose institutions have members in the Association of Research Libraries.

With the focus of the Ph.D. concentration in managerial leadership in the information professions, Dr. Hernon is now taking a broader view of leadership, one that does not center on any particular leadership theory or style. Drawing on discussions about judging the vision of leadership that the candidates for president of the United States hold, he has developed a most unusual data collection instrument, one that can lead to the use of concept mapping and other methodologies. The goal is to go beyond self-reporting and develop techniques to observe the actual practice of leadership. Leadership is not a word that is easily defined or at least a word that does not produce a definition that can gain universal acceptance.

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