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Practical implications of Lean, Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma in the public administration sector: a systematic literature review

Evangelos Psomas (Department of Business Administration of Food and Agricultural Enterprises, University of Patras, Agrinio, Greece)
Efthalia Keramida (Department of Business Administration of Food and Agricultural Enterprises, University of Patras, Agrinio, Greece)
Nancy Bouranta (Department of Business Administration of Food and Agricultural Enterprises, University of Patras, Agrinio, Greece)

International Journal of Lean Six Sigma

ISSN: 2040-4166

Article publication date: 10 March 2022

Issue publication date: 18 October 2022

484

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to identify the practical implications of Lean, Six Sigma (SS) and Lean SS (LSS) in the public administration sector. Determining the key themes of these practical implications is also an aim of the present study.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic literature review (SLR) was conducted based on the databases of six well-known academic publishers, namely, Emerald, Elsevier/Science Direct, Springer Link, Taylor and Francis, Sage and Willey online. The review revealed 56 peer-reviewed journal articles published between 2004 and 2020. The “affinity diagram” was applied to group the practical implications of Lean, SS and LSS into logical themes.

Findings

A plethora of practical implications of Lean, SS and LSS in the public administration sector are identified in the literature, examples of which are analytically presented. The analysis showed that the practical implications identified can be grouped into 14 meaningful themes, and these themes in turn into categories, formulating thus, a conceptual framework. The key themes that are supported in the literature by most references are the following: human factors involved in Lean/SS/LSS, Lean/SS/LSS benefits and Lean/SS/LSS implementation issues.

Research limitations/implications

Although several databases were used, some publishers might have been missed out in this SLR. The subjectivity in applying the “affinity diagram” is also a limitation of this study. Based on these limitations, further literature review studies can be designed.

Practical implications

Twofold implications arise from the present study, meaning from the practitioner and the academic perspective. The practical implications identified as well as their meaningful themes revealed constitute useful guidelines for managers and decision-makers wishing to implement Lean/SS/LSS in the public administration sector and bridge their knowledge gap between theory and practice. Moreover, all the practical dimensions of Lean/SS/LSS included in the comprehensive conceptual framework formulated could serve as research avenues for academics.

Originality/value

The application of Lean/SS/LSS in the public sector has not been widely reviewed, while the stream of literature focuses on limited issues (critical success factors, benefits, challenges, etc.). Moreover, SLRs in services and specifically in the public administration sector are fewer. Stimulated by this gap and the suggestions of other researchers for future studies, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study provides the first SLR which analyzes the practical implications of Lean/SS/LSS in the public administration sector and determines their key themes.

Keywords

Citation

Psomas, E., Keramida, E. and Bouranta, N. (2022), "Practical implications of Lean, Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma in the public administration sector: a systematic literature review", International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, Vol. 13 No. 6, pp. 1277-1307. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLSS-04-2021-0078

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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