The role of sociocultural factors in a lean manufacturing implementation Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/mc87pt05z

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  • This research investigated the role of management support, organizational culture, and organizational structure in a lean implementation. The impact the lean implementation made on communication and employee problem resolution skills within the organization was also examined. A qualitative case study methodology was used to investigate the research questions. The case study was performed at an electronics manufacturer in the northwestern United States. Data was collected over a three month time period. The data was coded employing an evolving coding scheme. The coding allowed the data to be organized into manageable units for analysis purposes. Significant findings were found for each of the research variables of interest. Due to the design of the research, the results of the case study are not broadly generalizable, but they do provide strong justification for further research. Additional research at organizations of differing sizes in a variety of industries would strengthen the findings and allow for wider generalizations to occur. Evidence of the positive impact of culture on the lean implementation was found, but ingrained cultural assumptions were also found to have a negative effect on the adoption of lean practices. No evidence was found of organizational structure making a positive impact on the lean implementation. Instead, the lack of support staff and minimal structure seemed to inhibit a persistent adoption of lean practices. Evidence was found to indicate that management support made a positive impact on the lean implementation, but a lack of communication about the lean effort and minimal material support by the executive management team was also found. Some evidence of improved communications attributable to the lean implementation was found, but the majority of the evidence involved examples of poor communication between work areas. Evidence of the lean implementation making a positive impact on employee problem resolution skills was also found, though difficulties still existed when seeking root causes to problems. Though this research explored five very different propositions related to lean manufacturing, the implications from the propositions often shared similarities. In particular, this research underscored the need to involve the entire organization in the implementation, educate the employees thoroughly, and create a work group that can effectively manage the lean effort.
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