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Lean Six Sigma for higher education institutions (HEIs): Challenges, barriers, success factors, tools/techniques

Jiju Antony (Department of DMEM, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK)
Netasha Krishan (Department of DMEM, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK)
Donna Cullen (Department of Information Services, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK)
Maneesh Kumar (Cardiff Business School, University of Cardiff, Cardiff, UK)

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 26 October 2012

7237

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to critically evaluate whether Lean Six Sigma (LSS) can be a powerful business improvement methodology for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of higher education institutions (HEIs). The paper will also explore the fundamental challenges, barriers and critical success factors for the introduction and development of LSS in the HE context. The last part of the paper is to understand the role of tools and techniques for the sustainability of this initiative for making the HEIs more efficient and effective.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper discusses whether LSS can be a useful and systematic approach to tackle operational and strategic issues within the HE industry. The authors use secondary data from literature to justify the need for this powerful approach and the benefits of adopting this business process improvement strategy within the HEIs.

Findings

The paper presents the challenges and barriers to be encountered during the introduction of LSS in the higher education sector, most useful tools and techniques for process improvement problems, success factors which are essential for the implementation and sustainability of LSS.

Research limitations/implications

This is a very theoretical paper based on the existing literature and authors’ experiences in the HE sector. The next stage of the research is to carry out empirical studies in a number of HEIs and develop a practical and useful roadmap for the implementation and sustainability of LSS as a business process improvement methodology.

Originality/value

This paper makes an attempt to remove the myth that LSS is confined to manufacturing. It also demonstrates, through relevant existing literature and authors’ experiences, that LSS is equally applicable to public sector organisations and in particular HEIs. Although lean has been adopted by a few HEIs in the UK and abroad, very few HEIs have adopted the integrated LSS approach for waste reduction and variability reduction, which leads to superior performance and enhanced student satisfaction.

Keywords

Citation

Antony, J., Krishan, N., Cullen, D. and Kumar, M. (2012), "Lean Six Sigma for higher education institutions (HEIs): Challenges, barriers, success factors, tools/techniques", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 61 No. 8, pp. 940-948. https://doi.org/10.1108/17410401211277165

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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