Application of Johari Window Theory to Understanding Librarian's Changing Roles as Information Providers

Text-only Preview

Library Philosophy and Practice 2008
ISSN 1522-0222
Application of Johari Window Theory to Understanding Librarian's
Changing Roles as Information Providers
Modupe A. Akewukereke
Principal Librarian
LAUTECH Teaching Hospital Library
P. M. B. 5000 Osogbo
Osun State, Nigeria
Ibitoye Samuel Olukayode
Head, Users and Reference Services
LAUTECH Teaching Hospital Library
P. M. B. 5000 Osogbo
Osun State, Nigeria
Taylor (1983) explores the questions of what it means to be human, and what it means to be an
individual. Humans must apply an understanding of people generally to themselves and their own
situation, and to have a clear self-image and idea of their role in the immediate environment. Taylor
discusses the idea of gaining wisdom is through self-examination and self-knowledge. It is useful to
distinguish between self-image and role in society. Self-image is the picture that each of us has of
ourselves. The self is one's recognition of his or her own existence and experience. Each individual is
unique and each behaves in certain ways as a result. In contrast to our self-image, our role is the picture
each of us has of what we are in relation to other people. The picture we have of ourselves is quite likely
to be different from the way in which other people see us and the picture they have of our relationship
with them. The way we think and act depends on the way we view the world around us and our place in
the world. This may vary according to our age, culture, and experience, which all affect our ideas,
attitudes and interest.
Librarians and Self-Image
A secure role is important for groups and individuals. A weak self-image weakens our confidence
in ourselves and in our work, and in turn weakens people's confidence in our ability to serve them. As
librarians, we must bear in mind our public relations role, in order to help users. Swanson (1978), as
quoted by Popoola (2005) says that the survival of humans in society depends on information for problem
solving, planning, and decision-making. Moreover, librarians' work consists largely of helping others. It is
therefore especially important to understand the librarian's role, and to see oneself as a person capable of
performing that role. A librarian must be like a good doctor who has confidence in his or her own
knowledge and ability.
Johari Window Theory
The Johari Window is a model of communication and interaction. Its name comes from the first
names of Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham, who created it. The window divides communication and
interaction into four areas (Luft 1969). The areas are:
• Arena (Known to me and to others)
• Façade (Known only to me)
• Blind spot (Known only to others)
“Application of Johari Window Theory to Understanding Librarian's Changing Roles as Information Providers,” Modupe A.
1
Akewukereke, Ibitoye Samuel Olukayode. Library Philosophy and Practice 2008 March

• Unknown (Known neither to me nor to others)
Individuals may have more emphasis on one area than others.

Figure 1. Illustration of Johari Window (from
http://www.cultsock.ndirect.co.uk/MUHome/cshtml/psy/johari.html )
Arena
This is the part of our lives that we know about and that is known by others as well. It contains all
the things that are open to us and others: name, where we live, family, personal appearance, work,
shared experience, qualifications, and capabilities. As information manager, the open area must be
guided wisely if our self-image must be applied positively. The area helps us to promote the image of
ourselves, our institutions, and our profession. Here we show our skills and exercise our most basic
freedom as individuals. The positive exercise of these abilities will encourage customers to approach us
and help us to market our products and services. It will also help us in the area of strategic information
management which ensures that library and information services are strategically managed in order to be
in a position to deliver efficient library services. When this area is most prominent, an individual interacts
and communicates freely and openly.
Façade
This is the part of our lives that we know but is hidden from others. This area contains our secret
thoughts, feelings, hopes, and fears, as well as pride, dislikes, shame, or precious things that we refuse
to share. As librarians, this portion may contain our academic abilities, dislike for boss, co-workers, some
users, the environment, lack of satisfaction at work, and the like. The things we keep hidden can have an
effect on our work. One who emphasizes the façade may try to get information from others but remain
reluctant to part with information.
Blind Spot
This area represents what others know about us but which we are blind to or unaware of. It
includes what others think of us, the attitudes and qualities they see in us. While we all have blind spots,
when this part of the window is too prominent, it may represent a person who is not a good listener, who
is unable to receive information from others. Librarians must accept constructive criticism from observers,
users, and colleagues, and not be blind to the ways that others see library services and procedures.
Unknown
This part of the window represents that which is unknown both to ourselves and to others. This
area may contain our deepest feelings and prejudices, the reasons why we behave and feel as we do,
“Application of Johari Window Theory to Understanding Librarian's Changing Roles as Information Providers,” Modupe A.
2
Akewukereke, Ibitoye Samuel Olukayode. Library Philosophy and Practice 2008 March

our total personality perhaps our future destiny. When this area is overdeveloped, the person may be
seen as an enigmatic and unpredictable figure.
The window is different for each person, depending on how that person relates to others. As
knowledge management professionals who must keep the library open and inviting, we must be open and
ready to share our ideas, thoughts, and feelings, to overcome our fears, and be willing to listen to
criticism. Applying Johari Window theory can help us gain understanding and improve our professional
relationships. Where image problems are obvious, we must not blame others; instead, we should
shoulder the blame and take steps to change that image. We must embrace an open, sharing, listening,
and understanding model of Johari communication and interaction.
Roles and Relationships
Information is a key resource that is used to make decisions that direct actions and control other
resources. It is also used to produce goods and services to have an edge over competitors (Ward and
Griffiths, 1996). People are the most valuable assets of any organization. People help organizations gain
the competitive edge. A library exists to serve users. With training and experience, staff will be the
library's most valued asset. Cateleyn (1981) enumerates the enhancements to librarians' roles in national
development.
• Job
satisfaction
• Professional
attitudes

• Enhancement of qualifications
• Acquisition of skills in other fields of knowledge
• Development and maintenance of skills and abilities
• Increase in promotion prospects
• Having up-to-date knowledge
• Widening of experience and practical knowledge
Conclusion
New and emerging technologies are challenging the traditional process of teaching and learning
and the way education is managed. Librarians must be positive in our outlook and proud of the fact that
we are information providers. The Johari Window model of communication and interaction can help
librarians in this effort. Librarians must develop the Arena: be open and receptive to trends, and user
feedback. Operating in the Arena may lead us to improved human resources development which will also
help us meet the challenges of today's environment.
References
Cateleyn, Mary (1981). Planning Library Training Programmes. London: Andre Deutsch
Kahn, H., Brown, W. and Martels, L. (1976) The Next 200 Years. New York: Morrow.
Luft, Joseph (1969). Of Human Interaction. Palo Alto, CA: National Press.
Popoola, S. O. (2005). Library and Information Science Profession: The New Direction in the 21st
Century in Nigeria; being a paper presented at the 2005 Annual General Meeting of the NLA Osun State
Branch at College of Health Services, Asubiaro, Osogbo.
Swanson, R. W. (1978). Education and Information Science as a Professional. Journal of the American
Society for Information Science
, 29 (148).
“Application of Johari Window Theory to Understanding Librarian's Changing Roles as Information Providers,” Modupe A.
3
Akewukereke, Ibitoye Samuel Olukayode. Library Philosophy and Practice 2008 March

Taylor, Harold (1983). Tend My Sheep: Applied Theology. 2. SPCK International Study Guides 19. 16th
ed.- London: SPCK.
Wilson, Tom (1995). The Role of the Librarian in the 21st Century. Keynote Address for the Library
Association Northern Branch Conference. Longhirst, Northumberland, 17.

“Application of Johari Window Theory to Understanding Librarian's Changing Roles as Information Providers,” Modupe A.
4
Akewukereke, Ibitoye Samuel Olukayode. Library Philosophy and Practice 2008 March