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Selection of Six Sigma key ingredients (KIs) in Korean companies

Ji Hyun Cho (Samsung Electronics, Suwon, Republic of Korea)
Jae Hoon Lee (Department of Industrial and Information Systems Engineering, Ajou University, Suwon, Republic of Korea)
Dong Geun Ahn (WurldTech Korea Corporation, Suwon, Republic of Korea)
Joong Soon Jang (Department of Industrial and Information Systems Engineering, Ajou University, Suwon, Republic of Korea)

The TQM Journal

ISSN: 1754-2731

Article publication date: 4 October 2011




The purpose of this paper is to determine the key ingredients of Six Sigma in order to grasp and understand its essential characteristics and then identify suitable ingredients and complements in consideration of vision, strategies, capability, and circumstance of a company.


The study outlines the range of research in Korean enterprises, suppliers, and SMEs. Potential ingredients collected from previous studies about critical success factors, ingredients of Six Sigma and TQM, and criteria of quality awards (Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA), European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) Award, Deming Prize, Korean National Quality Award) are classified into 11 categories based on Six Sigma expert opinions and affinity analysis. Also, questionnaires are surveyed from champions, master black belts and black belts in 90 Korean companies that have more than three years of experience in implementing Six Sigma. Statistical analysis with factor analysis and hypothesis testing has been done to select the key ingredients and to find the differences among the diverse types of companies.


By using factor analysis, three main factors are derived for each category respectively, and consequently 30 factors in 11 categories are concluded as the key ingredients of Six Sigma in Korean companies. There is a significant difference in importance of Six Sigma key ingredients according to company size, business type, and implementation phase.

Research limitations/implications

A study may be conducted to identify Six Sigma success factors according to corporate characteristics from key ingredients identified in this study in future.


The paper investigates the key ingredients of Six Sigma based on a survey of diverse sizes, industries, and implementation phases of Korean companies. Compared with other studies conducted by empirical methods, the survey data are statistically analysed and the evaluation results are represented as quantitative indicators.



Hyun Cho, J., Hoon Lee, J., Geun Ahn, D. and Soon Jang, J. (2011), "Selection of Six Sigma key ingredients (KIs) in Korean companies", The TQM Journal, Vol. 23 No. 6, pp. 611-628.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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