To read this content please select one of the options below:

Six Sigma quality: a structured review and implications for future research

Mohamed Gamal Aboelmaged (Management Department, College of Business Administration, Ajman University of Science and Technology, Ajman, United Arab Emirates)

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management

ISSN: 0265-671X

Article publication date: 16 March 2010




This paper aims to clarify emerging aspects and trends of Six Sigma literature over 17 years, from 1992 to 2008.


The literature on Six Sigma from 417 referred journal articles in business and management disciplines, information systems and computer science, engineering, healthcare, etc. were systematically analyzed based on a scheme that consists of four distinct dimensions: publication year and journal, major themes, research type, and application sector (i.e. manufacturing vs service).


A number of key findings emerged: Six Sigma research is growing rapidly, covering various disciplines and domains with a great focus on Six Sigma tools and techniques; empirical research is dominant with more emphasis on case study approach; and the growing gap between manufacturing‐ and service‐focused articles implies the return of Six Sigma to manufacturing as its initial base. Although a large volume of literature is available on Six Sigma, the topic is still under development and offers potential opportunities for further research and applications.


The paper provides both academics and practitioners with a useful framework for pursuing rigorous Six Sigma research through explaining the chronological growth of Six Sigma, challenging themes of Six Sigma research, dominating research types and application areas in Six Sigma, and the major sources of Six Sigma information.



Gamal Aboelmaged, M. (2010), "Six Sigma quality: a structured review and implications for future research", International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 268-317.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles