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Kaizen within Kaizen Teams: Continuous and Process Improvements in a Spanish municipality

Manuel F. Suárez‐Barraza1 (PhD Candidate, Department of Operations Management and Innovation, ESADE, Universitat Ramón Llull, Av.Pedralbes 60‐62, E‐08034 Barcelona, Spain)
Tony Lingham (PhD Doctor, Associate Professor Case Western Reserve University)

Asian Journal on Quality

ISSN: 1598-2688

Article publication date: 17 April 2008




As organizations become more team oriented, research on teams continues to increase especially involving how teams contribute to organizational performance and effectiveness. Although there has been existing research on Kaizen teams in the private sector, very little research has included Kaizen teams in the public sector. In this paper, we present a method to study Kaizen teams in a local Spanish government that have been using Kaizen teams for more than ten years.


Quantitative research was adopted for this study. Twenty teams participated in the study by filling out the Team Learning and Development Inventory (TLI) proposed by Lingham (2004). In addition, we interviewed members of the teams in order to clarify and assure our quantitative results.


Based on the findings, we propose that Kaizen teams should practice both Continuous (CI) and Process Improvements (PI) in their projects. We also propose that Kaizen teams should not be teams skilled only at developing better improvement processes (both CI and PI) for the organization but that such teams should also be skilled at engaging in team development using both CI and PI processes internally – a Kaizen within Kaizen teams approach.

Research limitations

Its based in one case study. However, it is working paper and the research project still is developing.

Practical Implications

Serve as a guide to practitioners (Public managers) who desire to understand how their Kaizen teams involves both internal (conversational spaces) and external (methodology) perspectives that would contribute to both team and organizational effectiveness. In this paper, we focus on the Internal Processes (both CI and PI) using the TLI as an effective method for Kaizen teams to engage in the Kaizen process.


This study is one of the first to look at team’s performance using Team Learning and Development Inventory in Spain’s public sector. It is also the first to mention about the relationship of the team’s performance and the implementation of process improvement methodologies in Spain local government environment.



Suárez‐Barraza1, M.F. and Lingham, T. (2008), "Kaizen within Kaizen Teams: Continuous and Process Improvements in a Spanish municipality", Asian Journal on Quality, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 1-21.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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