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Performance of organisations treating lean as an ideology

Sanjay Bhasin (NOMS Civil Service College, Rugby, UK)

Business Process Management Journal

ISSN: 1463-7154

Article publication date: 8 November 2011




British empirical research suggests culture and change have contributed to every lean failure. Whilst prevailing research implies that successful lean implementations lead to a profitable organisation, it focuses upon the low numbers of successful lean conversions. The purpose of this paper is to explore the importance of a suitable change strategy resulting in the likelihood of a triumphant lean implementation.


Predominantly, results from 68 survey questionnaires and seven case studies consisting of both questionnaires and interview schedules were utilised. Subsequently, extensive lean audits were carried out in 20 companies as a comprehensive validating exercise.


The significance of change was evident; a high correlation was found within the audits with successful organizations, suggesting that a triumphant implementation requires a systematic and controlled change strategy.

Research limitations/implications

Whilst lean failures are attributable to different causes, the fundamental issues of corporate culture and change are evident. Every company needs to find its own way to implement lean and it should be viewed as a never‐ending journey.

Practical implications

The implementation of lean cannot be taken nonchalantly, owing to the investment in terms of time and money. Consequently, if an organization pursues the change strategy suggested, the probability of success implementation is improved.


This research, undertaken in British manufacturing organisations, focused on a bespoke change strategy for lean, as there exists a plethora of research focusing at the generic change process.



Bhasin, S. (2011), "Performance of organisations treating lean as an ideology", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 17 No. 6, pp. 986-1011.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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