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Kaizen strategy and the drive for competitiveness: challenges and opportunities

Sami Al Smadi (University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)

Competitiveness Review

ISSN: 1059-5422

Article publication date: 22 May 2009




The purpose of this paper is to revisit the Japanese model of continuous improvement (Kaizen) in order to evaluate its contribution to competitiveness in organizations and also recommend possible future research directions.


This is a conceptual paper, and secondary databased. The paper examines a vast body of research, which looked at the model from different perspectives, and critically explores its potential benefits and drawbacks in organizations.


The paper concludes that, if properly implemented, Kaizen model can substantially contribute to continuous improvement and, thus, drive organizations for high competitiveness without a need for major investment.

Practical implications

The findings suggest that the implementation of Kaizen calls for a development of a suitable culture within an organization that encourages creativity and promotes the theme of never settling on a status quo.


This paper shows that success of Kaizen model is not always guaranteed, as work environment and organizational culture can be the important variables in its implementation.



Al Smadi, S. (2009), "Kaizen strategy and the drive for competitiveness: challenges and opportunities", Competitiveness Review, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 203-211.



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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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