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Lean Implementation: the significance of people and dualism
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Industrial Development, IT and Land Management. University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences. University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research.
2013 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Lean, with its origins at the Toyota Motor Company, is a concept that is known to increase effectiveness in manufacturing. The Lean concept is now argued to be relevant not only in manufacturing but in service and health-care delivery as well. The reported results of Lean implementation efforts are divided. There are reports that most of the Lean implementation efforts are not reaching the goal; on the other hand, there are reports of promising results. The divided results from Lean implementation efforts show how important it is to research and identify factors that are barriers to successful implementation of Lean. This thesis aims to contribute knowledge about barriers to Lean implementation by collecting empirical findings from manufacturing and health care and structuring the perceived barriers and difficulties to Lean implementation. My first study aimed to compare similarities and divergences in barriers to Lean described by key informants in manufacturing and health care. The data was collected via semi-structured interviews. Findings showed that the perceived difficulties and barriers are much the same in manufacturing and health care. The second study was a case study at a manufacturing firm, researching how the views on Lean of the managers implementing Lean influence its implementation. Data was collected via semi-structured interviews with 20 individuals and covered all hierarchical management levels in the company. Findings showed that managers' views on Lean influence the implementation but also that learning during the implementation process can alter managers' views of Lean. The third study aimed to research how management of Lean is described in the literature. This was done through a literature review. The findings showed that Lean management is a matter of dualism, consisting of two complementary systems of action, management and leadership, which are related to the two basic principles of Lean, continuous improvement and respect for the people.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology , 2013. , 73 p.
TRITA-STH : report, ISSN 1653-3836 ; 2013:8
Keyword [en]
Lean, leadership, management, implementation, barriers, comparison, development, health care, manufacturing
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-16133ISBN: 978-91-7501-908-6OAI: diva2:689834
Available from: 2014-01-21 Created: 2014-01-21 Last updated: 2014-01-26Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Experienced Barriers to Lean in Swedish Manufacturing and Health Care
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Experienced Barriers to Lean in Swedish Manufacturing and Health Care
2013 (English)In: International Journal of Lean Thinking, ISSN 2146-0337, Vol. 4, no 2Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A B S T R A C T  

Purpose: The purpose is to compare similarities and divergences in how the concepts of Lean and barriers to Lean are described by key informants at a production unit in a large manufacturing company and two emergency health care units in Sweden.

Design/methodology/approach: Data was collected via semi-structured interviews and analyzed with the constant comparative method (CCM) and Porras and Robertson’s

(1992) change model.

Findings: In both organizations, the view of Lean changed from a toolbox to a human behavior view. Eight barriers were experienced in both organizations. Three barriers

were unique to manufacturing or to health care, respectively. Nine barriers were elements of social factors;five were elements of organizing arrangements.

Research limitations/implications: Only people practically involved and responsible for the implementation at the two organizations participated in the study.

Practical implications: Persons responsible for implementing Lean should consider organizational arrangements and social factors in order to limit barriers to

successful implementation.

Originality/value: Most research on Lean has been about successful Lean implementations. This study focuses on how Lean is viewed and what barriers personnel in

manufacturing and health care have experienced. In comparing the barriers to Lean experienced in the two groups, common, archetypical, and unique barriers for manufacturing and health care can be identified, thus contributing to knowledge about barriers to Lean implementation.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-16117 (URN)
Available from: 2014-01-21 Created: 2014-01-21 Last updated: 2014-01-27Bibliographically approved
2. From Fantasy to Reality: Learning From Seven Years of Lean Implementation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From Fantasy to Reality: Learning From Seven Years of Lean Implementation
2013 (English)In: Journal of US-China Public Administration, ISSN 1548-6591, Vol. 10, no 4, 368-378 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this paper is to address the question of how manager’s views on Lean in terms of “toolbox Lean” or“Lean thinking” impact their view of the implementation process. This paper is based on a case study at a globallyestablished Swedish manufacturing company. Findings show that managers’ definitions of Lean have evolved froma “toolbox” view toward more of a “Lean thinking” view during the implementation process, due to the learningtaking place in the organization during the implementation. As the understanding of Lean develops, new andunforeseen deviations or needs may be identified. This in turn affects the managers’ views on the implementationprocess and perceived needs in regard to Lean development. The study also shows that fragmented development ofan organization, such as production units developing individually without support from middle management orhuman resources (HR) may impede Lean development efforts. Lean implementation and development requiresystem wide change in order to be sustainable, which primarily concerns the management system and managementapproach but also all support functions within an organization. The use of external consultants in selected parts ofan organization, thereby by-passing management levels and support functions may generate conflicting prioritiesand tension within an organization. The paper contributes to a deeper understanding regarding the learning processrelated to Lean implementations and to the aspects of people development and leadership required for sustainableLean development.

National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-15423 (URN)
Available from: 2013-09-25 Created: 2013-09-25 Last updated: 2014-01-27Bibliographically approved
3. Lean leadership: a matter of dualism
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Lean leadership: a matter of dualism
2014 (English)In: International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, ISSN 1465-6612, Vol. 14, no 4, 242-253 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

On the basis of previous literature, this study takes a snowball approach to identify people influential on the topics through their writings. The aim was to conceptualise leadership and management in regard to lean, thus increasing understanding of the roles of leadership and management in lean development. The findings showed that leadership and management are two different but complementary action systems, similar to the duality of Toyota's two foundational principles: respect for people and continuous improvement. Differentiating between leadership and management is important in order to meet organisational needs during a lean implementation; each has complementary functions. Practical implications include the need to further train managers in leadership and to work within organisational culture to influence on–the–job behaviour. This lack of leadership competence may be one reason companies tend to address lean as a toolbox rather than an enterprise–wide system that covers all its operations and entails cultural and behaviour standards.

lean leadership, lean management, leadership competence, complementary, Toyota way, organisational effectiveness, lean development, organisational culture, on–the–job behaviour, duality, snowball approach, enterprise–wide systems, human resources
National Category
Business Administration
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-16132 (URN)10.1504/IJHRDM.2014.069355 (DOI)2-s2.0-84929619819 (ScopusID)
Available from: 2013-12-05 Created: 2014-01-21 Last updated: 2015-06-07Bibliographically approved

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