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Lean and six sigma – critical success factors revisited

Dag Näslund (Department of Management, Coggin College of Business, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, USA and Department of Industrial Management and Logistics, Lund University, Lund, Sweden)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Article publication date: 22 March 2013




The purpose of this paper is to provide a review of the critical success factors (CSF) for lean and six sigma and an analysis of these CSF as compared to previously popular change methods.


The paper uses a literature search and comparative analysis complemented with examples from previous case studies.


With only slight variations, the critical success factors are similar for all the change methods. Furthermore, the critical success factors seem to be relatively constant over time. Another important finding is that the CSF tend to relate more to how an organization approaches the change effort versus change method specific factors. The issues of management support and organizational culture are often emphasized as especially critical. The paper highlights and discusses three additional important CSF: strategic alignment, project management and training.

Practical implications

The awareness of CSF, in combination with an awareness of similarities between the methods, can potentially guide organizations in implementations of existing change efforts, and also prepare them for the next widely popular change method – when it arrives.


The paper presents the comparison of such aspects as goals, approaches, structure and tools and a detailed analysis of critical success factors.



Näslund, D. (2013), "Lean and six sigma – critical success factors revisited", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 86-100.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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