Lean implementation: analysis of individual-level factors in a biopharmaceutical organisation

Duggan, Jeff
Cormican, Kathryn
McDermott, Olivia
Duggan, Jeff, Cormican, Kathryn, & McDermott, Olivia. (2022). Lean implementation: analysis of individual-level factors in a biopharmaceutical organisation. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, doi:10.1108/IJLSS-10-2021-0184
Purpose An understanding of the motivation of individual employees to adopt lean practices is fundamental to successful lean implementation. This study aims to investigate the adoption of lean practices and provides an analysis of the individual-level factors necessary for lean implementation. This study presents a method for assessing the impact of individual-level factors in a company deploying lean within a biopharmaceutical manufacturing subsidiary. Design/methodology/approach The case study explores the attitudes of individuals within a functionally structured organisation undergoing a lean implementation initiative. A quantitative data collection approach was used to capture data from employees in a medical device manufacturing organisation. Findings The study found that personality and affective organisational commitment positively affects an individual’s intention to adopt lean practices. Employees with greater levels of affective commitment are more likely to partake in lean-related practices. Individuals in functions that directly support the production process, as opposed to those in functions that indirectly support production, are more likely to participate in lean practices. Finally, individuals in supervisory roles are more likely to adopt lean practices than those in non-supervisory roles, and management should involve top performers in lean. Originality/value There is a paucity of case study research in the area of individual-level factors for lean practice adoption. The findings of this study offer practical guidance on individual-level factors for lean practice adoption and illuminate new avenues for future research. This analysis also makes a practical contribution to the literature. From a managerial perspective, understanding why certain employees are more willing to adopt lean practices contributes to an overall lean organisational readiness and implementation framework. This insight enables the development of carefully tailored communication and training programs for managing employee motivation for and receptivity to lean.
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