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What do organizational leaders need from lean graduate programming

Shannon Flumerfelt (Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, USA)
Anabela Carvalho Alves (Centro ALGORITMI, University of Minho, School of Engineering, Guimarães, Portugal)
Celina Pinto Leão (Universidade do Minho Escola de Engenharia, Guimaraes, Portugal)
Dennis L. Wade (Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, USA)

European Journal of Training and Development

ISSN: 2046-9012

Article publication date: 6 June 2016




This paper aims to assess the needs for a lean continuous improvement professional certificate and/or lean leadership cognate for a Doctorate of Education in leadership focused in three main research questions: “What do organizational leaders need from a Lean graduate programming?”; “What are the preferable methods of delivery for Lean teaching/learning?” and “What are the main learner outcomes and do how these impact organizational and continuous improvement outcomes?”


A survey to 37 organizational leaders in a North-American state was conducted via telephone and email that were returned to the researcher. The survey was designed to target a solid cross-section of organizational decision makers in regard to the need for and type of lean training desired, if at all, for employees. Using a mixed methods approach, the survey was designed to collect both qualitative and quantitative information.


Respondents indicated that lean continuous improvement thinking and lean process-project management were most the desirable content options. The method of delivery was not as clear with on-ground and online relying on job-embedded, project-based methods as most desirable approaches. Learner outcomes of mastery of lean content along with the ability to impact organizational and continuous improvement outcomes were favored.


Lean leadership education is valued learning by organizational leaders. As so, higher education institutions must be aware of matching better organizational needs with learning experiences. This paper presents a survey that intended to do this in an original way.



The authors would like to express their acknowledgments to Pawley Lean Institute and faculty in the study of lean leadership and to COMPETE: POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007043 and FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia within the Project Scope: UID/CEC/00319/2013.


Flumerfelt, S., Alves, A.C., Leão, C.P. and Wade, D.L. (2016), "What do organizational leaders need from lean graduate programming", European Journal of Training and Development, Vol. 40 No. 5, pp. 302-320.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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