To read this content please select one of the options below:

Critical review of literature on Lean Six Sigma methodology

Anand S. Patel (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Institute of Technology, Nirma University, Ahmedabad, India)
Kaushik M. Patel (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Institute of Technology, Nirma University, Ahmedabad, India)

International Journal of Lean Six Sigma

ISSN: 2040-4166

Article publication date: 11 January 2021

Issue publication date: 16 July 2021




This paper aims to develop an initial understanding of the Lean Six Sigma methodology since its inception and examine the few Lean Six Sigma dimensions as a research domain through a critical review of the literature.


The paper is structured in two-part. The first part of the paper attempts to dwell on the evolution of the Lean Philosophy and Six Sigma methodology individually and the emergence of Lean Six Sigma methodology, covered under the Lean Six Sigma: a historical outline section. The second part of the study examines the dimensions associated with Lean Six Sigma such as frameworks, critical success factors, critical failure factors, type of industry, performance metric, year, publisher and journal, based on a total of 223 articles published in 72 reputed journals from the year 2000 to 2019 as a literature review.


The adoption of Lean Six Sigma, as a continuous improvement methodology, has grown enormously in the manufacturing and few service sectors such as health care and higher education during the past decade. The study revealed that researchers came out with conceptual frameworks for the implementation of Lean Six Sigma, whereas the validation through case studies seems to be lacking. The integration of Lean Six Sigma and other approaches with a focus on sustainability and the environment has emerged as a research field. A few of the most common critical success and failure factors were identified from the articles studied during the study.

Research limitations/implications

This paper may not have included some of the studies due to the inaccessibility and selection criteria followed for the study.


This paper will provide an initial introduction on Lean, Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma and research insights Lean Six Sigma to beginners such as students, researchers and entry-level professionals.



Patel, A.S. and Patel, K.M. (2021), "Critical review of literature on Lean Six Sigma methodology", International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 627-674.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles