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Key facilitators to continuous improvement: a Spanish insight

Lidia Sanchez-Ruiz (Business and Management Department, Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Spain) (Health Economics and Health Service Management Research Group, IDIVAL, Santander, Spain)
Raquel Gomez-Lopez (Business and Management Department, Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Spain)
Beatriz Blanco Rojo (Business and Management Department, Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Spain)

Business Process Management Journal

ISSN: 1463-7154

Article publication date: 3 August 2022

Issue publication date: 22 August 2022




The aim of this paper is to analyse the nature of the facilitators of continuous improvement (CI), proposing a classification of them and identifying the different profiles of companies based on them.


To achieve this objective, first, a literature review was done in order to identify the main facilitators; second, some of them were included in a survey based on experts' opinions; third, a survey was conducted amongst people responsible for implementing CI; and finally factorial and cluster analysis were applied.


Based on the results, three main factors were identified: “cultural facilitators”, “tactical facilitators” and “human resources involvement facilitators”. Additionally, five clusters were defined.

Practical implications

As many companies still struggle when implementing CI, the results of this study can help all them to focus on the most important aspects in order to guarantee the sustainability of the CI system.


From a theoretical point of view, this work contributes to the CI field by analysing the nature of the main facilitators companies can find when implementing these initiatives. Thus, not only does this study provide a hierarchy of the most important facilitators, but also classifies them. As far as authors are concerned, this is the first attempt to categorise CI facilitators.



This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.


Sanchez-Ruiz, L., Gomez-Lopez, R. and Blanco Rojo, B. (2022), "Key facilitators to continuous improvement: a Spanish insight", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 28 No. 4, pp. 1071-1092.



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