The rhetoric and reality of Lean: A multiple case study
2016 (English)In: Total quality management and business excellence (Online), ISSN 1478-3363, E-ISSN 1478-3371, Vol. 27, no 3-4, 398-412 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In this paper, we analyse the similarities and differences between the descriptions of Lean found in the extant literature and how it is applied in practice. Using a multiple case study with seven cases from different sectors, we offer seven propositions about Lean as applied in reality and its relation to descriptions in literature. Our results indicate that organisations adopt the general rhetoric, and repeat the message conveyed by Lean proponents, in terms of the rationale for, and expected outcomes of, applying Lean. Furthermore, we see that the decision to implement Lean often precedes the identification of problems in the organisation, which causes a risk of an unfocused change process. Lean initiatives also tend to have a rather narrow scope, which contradicts the holistic view advocated in the literature. This, together with the variation in operationalisation, makes it difficult to predict the outcomes of a Lean initiative. Our study suggests that our findings do not depend on organisation size, sector or industry.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2016. Vol. 27, no 3-4, 398-412 p.
Lean, rhetoric, practice, case study
Lean, retorik, praktik, fallstudie
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-113675DOI: 10.1080/14783363.2015.1004307OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-113675DiVA: diva2:783930