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Inclusive versus exclusive learning: the secret ingredient to creating a truly “lean” and “learning” culture

Michael Ballé (Institut Lean France, Paris, France.)
Jacques Chaize (Society For Organizational Learning, Paris, France.)
Daniel Jones (Lean Enterprise Academy, Ross-on-Wye, United Kingdom.)

Development and Learning in Organizations

ISSN: 1477-7282

Article publication date: 5 January 2015




The purpose of this paper is a first-hand study of lean improvement programs that has led the authors to distinguish two different forms of learning intent: exclusive learning versus inclusive learning. These two forms of learning reflect two different attitudes to learning. With exclusive learning, the executives expect to learn by themselves and then apply this learning to the organization – and then reap the benefits. With inclusive learning, the executives intend to learn with others and from their own learning efforts – and share the benefits. The authors argue that these learning attitudes account for a large part of the difference between the success and failure of lean initiatives.


The paper is based on over 25 years of research studying Toyota – where the term “lean” was first used to describe their particular way of working – together with working with hundreds of other organizations around the world across all sectors.


To implement a lean strategy that brings long-term, effective change requires senior executives to start with their own personal learning journey and to create an inclusive learning culture within their organization.


The paper provides a succinct summary of how a different mindset is required from senior executives if they are to create and implement a truly lean strategy for their organization. Their behaviors enable or inhibit what the authors describe as an “inclusive” learning environment which will create and maintain a sustainable shift to a lean culture.



Ballé, M., Chaize, J. and Jones, D. (2015), "Inclusive versus exclusive learning: the secret ingredient to creating a truly “lean” and “learning” culture", Development and Learning in Organizations, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 20-23.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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