Att överföra och översätta lean: En fallstudie av Södertälje kommuns leaninförande
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Lean has during the past two decades grown to become a worldwide management concept. The purpose of lean is mainly to create value for customers and reduce the downtime for organizations. It origins from the automotive industry and was firstly introduced by Toyota. The concept eventually caught on and spread to other industries, service businesses and most recently to the public sector. A few years ago municipalities in Sweden introduced lean in their organizations and used it as a solution to many of their operational challenges. However, research suggests that the knowledge within the field of lean in the context of municipalities is limited. The study was designed as a single case study of the municipality Södertälje which was one of the first municipalities to adopt the concept of lean. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews with key individuals in Södertälje municipality who had been a part of the introduction of lean or in some way influenced the process. In addition, interviews were held with middle managers who were currently working with lean. Furthermore, text documents such as decisions, objectives and budget documents provided by Södertälje municipality were also analyzed.
To get a better understanding of how lean can be used in the context of municipalities the aim of this study was to examine how Södertälje municipality introduced lean, how it was applied and which forms the concept has taken. More specific the study has used institutional and translational theory to investigate how lean has been transferred and translated from the private- to the public context. The empirical data was analyzed through two phases. The first phase was decontextualization which was used to understand how lean was differentiated from the private context by the municipality. The second phase was contextualization which has been used to see how Södertälje municipality introduced lean in their organization and how they interpreted the concept.
The findings suggest that the municipality had a problem-oriented approach where lean was considered a possible solution. To transfer lean, Södertälje municipality first recruited Robert Kusén, an executive from Scania, to “carry out” his knowledge and experience from working with lean. Second, the management of the municipality visited Scania and the social district in Copenhagen to “bring in” knowledge about the lean concept. Therefore, the municipality partly used organizational arenas in the same sector and partly organizational arenas in a different and more distant sector than the municipality. The study conclude that the contexts included in the transfer of a concept affects the translation. To translate the concept of lean, Södertälje municipality applied “the translation hierarchical chain” with few exceptions. Further, the municipality developed their lean philosophy and what they thought about lean by what they call “Växthuset”. By doing this and by interlocking lean with their existing vision and values, enrollment rules were used to establish lean in the local context. Using pilot projects also helped creating local references to the idea. Furthermore the municipality used specific rules for translating and reshaping lean. The mainly emphasized instrument was imitation, but there have also been indicators of addition and subtraction. This was expressed through the political context which narrowed the use of long-sightedness and instead resulted in a focus on democratic aspects. The municipality’s use of lean was from the beginning intended to include the entire organization but had instead mainly been practiced by the social welfare department. The poor adaption was largely caused by a lack of interest from the personnel and because key stakeholder had left the organization or had been replaced.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 84 p.
Lean, public sector, institutional theory, translation theory
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-30380OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-30380DiVA: diva2:939357
Subject / course
2016-06-13, ME 439, 09:00 (Swedish)
UppsokSocial and Behavioural Science, Law
Ivarsson Westerberg, Anders, Högskolelektor
Jacobsson, Bengt, Professor