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Continuous improvement: the trade‐off between self‐management and discipline

Alan Harrison (Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield, Bedford, UK)

Integrated Manufacturing Systems

ISSN: 0957-6061

Article publication date: 1 June 2000



Deployment of fresh approaches to organisational and human aspects has been a feature of many descriptions of the implementation of “new wave” manufacturing (NWM) strategies. Lists of common HR (human resource) practices accompanying the implementation of such strategies have arisen from survey and other work. But a common failing in such descriptions is either lack of prioritisation of the individual practices, or lack of warnings that there are trade‐offs between the practices themselves. While continuous improvement (CI) is one of the most consistent features of such lists, it is proposed that CI is, in fact, dependent on other HR practices. This paper describes the deployment of new wave practices in two different case‐study environments, using the Japanese “humanware” model to investigate the integration of technical and social aspects. By comparing results from two units of analysis in each case, it was possible to make conclusions about the nature of the trade‐offs at stake, and about the impact of other policies on CI in particular.



Harrison, A. (2000), "Continuous improvement: the trade‐off between self‐management and discipline", Integrated Manufacturing Systems, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 180-187.




Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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