The purpose of this paper is to take a fresh look at some of the contemporary operations management (OM) research issues in the automotive sector in order to identify potential future research directions. It addresses the question of what remains to be investigated after so many decades of enquiry.
A review confined to recent articles published in some of the most mainstream OM journals, seeking to identify research gaps in the field.
The paper reviews some of the most prevalent misperceptions about Japanese production management (JPM) and the Toyota production system. It observes that much of contemporary OM research in the automotive industry still wrestles with the complexities of JPM approaches, whose richness of nuance and complexity appear to be always just beyond the authors' grasp. Argues for the use of alternative theoretical lenses to help uncover novel insights.
The paper reaffirms the author's overarching research mission which is to contribute to the improved practice of OM by conducting rigorous research in the field. It underscores the need for novel approaches to OM research in the automotive sector. This is particularly apposite at a time when the differences between production systems seem to be disappearing and when some recent empirical evidence suggests that lean management may only be skin deep in many companies which rely too heavily on consultants to the detriment of depth of knowledge and employee involvement.
Taylor, M. and Taylor, A. (2008), "Operations management research in the automotive sector: Some contemporary issues and future directions", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 28 No. 6, pp. 480-489. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443570810875322
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