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A case study of how innovative companies manage and balance continuous innovation and continuous improvement in Sweden
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Quality Technology and Management, Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Background and problem

Previously, management has focused on cost, lead time reduction and quality improvement for competiveness in the market. However, most researchers agree that in today´s highly competitive business environment quality is a necessity but not sufficient. For companies to survive it is also imperative to also continuously innovate. These two activities are both important. Achieving a balance between the two, the objectives of improved quality and increased innovation, is not a straightforward exercise.


The purpose of this study is to examine how innovative companies manage continuous innovation and continuous improvement. Furthermore, it aims to extend the understanding of the relationship between continuous innovation and continuous improvement in innovative companies - the balance between these two activities.


The primary research in this study has been collated through semi-structured interviews with leaders involved in innovation. The primary research is analysed and a comparison is made between primary research and secondary research. Similarities and differences are outlined in terms of the relationship.

Results and conclusion

The findings suggest that the innovative companies are fully aware of the importance of continuous innovation and continuous improvement. Moreover, there is a constant balancing act going on between these two activities in the companies. These activities are organised in different ways in the innovative companies. Continuous improvement is often prioritized due to for instance urgency and cost reduction. The companies support these activities through for instance recognition, rewards, KPIs, long term view, purpose and sustainability

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 57 p.
Keyword [en]
Total Quality Management, continuous improvement, continuous innovation, innovation management and company culture
National Category
Reliability and Maintenance
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-29051Local ID: KA-V16-AI-008OAI: diva2:1033281
Subject / course
Quality Management and Leadership LO1
Available from: 2016-10-06 Created: 2016-10-06

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Reliability and Maintenance

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