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Developing an understanding of corporate anorexia

Zoe J. Radnor (Warwick Business School, The University of Warwick, Coventry, UK)
Ruth Boaden (Manchester School of Management, UMIST, Manchester, UK)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 1 April 2004



“Lean working”, “leanness” or “lean” are terms that can be used to describe “doing more with less” i.e. improved utilisation of an organisation's resources. This paper outlines the concept of leanness before developing thinking to describe a state of “corporate anorexia” – the inability to utilise or balance effectively the facets/resources of the organisation. There may be a variety of causes of this state of anorexia; this paper will not however consider all of them in detail, since its main focus is around identifying the characteristics of an anorexic organisation. The case study analysis presented focuses on the process of change undergone by an organisation when becoming lean and the extent to which this may result in corporate anorexia. A review of literature is used to develop a set of questions that can be used to consider the impact of the process of change to a state of leanness on various facets of the organisation, and in particular the way in which they balance with each other. These questions are then applied to some case studies in order to assess how lean an organisation is, and conclusions drawn about what the cases show in relation to both leanness and anorexia.



Radnor, Z.J. and Boaden, R. (2004), "Developing an understanding of corporate anorexia", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 424-440.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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