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Continuous improvement and kaizen: standardization and organizational designs

Anders Berger (Centre for Research on Organisational Renewal, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden)

Integrated Manufacturing Systems

ISSN: 0957-6061

Article publication date: 1 April 1997



Proposes to delineate a set of core principles from the Japanese kaizen concept and illustrate the contingent nature of the design and organization of continuous improvement (CI) processes, especially with respect to product/process standardization and work design. Given differences in the overall degree of standardization related to product design and process choice, two types of standards to reduce variability at operator work process level should be considered: indirect system standards, e.g. for skills, organization, information and communication; and direct standard operating procedures (SOPs). It is proposed that two team‐based organizational designs for CI (organic CI and wide‐focus CI) are functionally equivalent to the Japanese kaizen model, particularly when combining indirect system standards of skills with a group task design and low degree of product/process standardization. Expert task forces and suggestion systems are complementary organizational designs for improvement processes, particularly when work design is based on individual tasks and direct SOPs.



Berger, A. (1997), "Continuous improvement and kaizen: standardization and organizational designs", Integrated Manufacturing Systems, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 110-117.




Copyright © 1997, MCB UP Limited

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