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Integrating human resource management into lean production and their impact on organizational performance

Tomas Bonavia (TEMPO, Department of Social Psychology, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain)
Juan A. Marin‐Garcia (ROGLE, Department of Business Administration, Polytechnic University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 15 November 2011



The first goal of this research is to analyse the effects of lean production (LP) on the policy of human resource management (HRM). The second is to determine whether or not implementation of HRM practices associated with LP explains the differences in organizational performance between manufacturing plants.


The paper developed a questionnaire for data collection. Findings are presented from 76 establishments (79.17 per cent of the total sample) that specialise in single‐firing ceramic tiles in Spain.


Companies that make the most of LP practices are also those that take care to train workers in using these practices as well as improving their employment security. However, the same is not true for the pay for performance system. The combination of LP with HRM practices reduces inventory and boosts productivity but does not appear to affect the other performance variables analysed.

Research limitations/implications

For certain variables very little variation was found between the plants in the samples. The data are cross‐sectional, so causality cannot be definitively determined.

Practical implications

This paper indicates the HRM practices associated with the LP and the results obtained. It can thus be used to help human resource and production departments in improving organizational performance.


The paper extends the work of other researchers by focusing on a sector and a country that have been very little studied to date. The sample consists of a set of plants that are fairly homogeneous, which facilitates the analysis of the relationships between the selected variables, while keeping other variables controlled.



Bonavia, T. and Marin‐Garcia, J.A. (2011), "Integrating human resource management into lean production and their impact on organizational performance", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 32 No. 8, pp. 923-938.



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