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They teach, but do they apply? An exploratory survey about the use of Lean thinking in Brazilian higher education institutions

Anete Petrusch (Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos, Sao Leopoldo, Brazil)
Guilherme Luís Roehe Vaccaro (Graduate Program in Production and Systems Engineering, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos, São Leopoldo, Brazil and Graduate Program in Business Management, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos, São Leopoldo, Brazil)
Juliane Luchese (Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos, Sao Leopoldo, Brazil)

International Journal of Lean Six Sigma

ISSN: 2040-4166

Article publication date: 2 November 2018

Issue publication date: 14 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Although discussed for more than 20 years, information about Lean adoption in higher education institutions (HEIs) is scarce, especially in developing countries. This research aims to investigate the degree of Lean thinking adoption on administrative services of Brazilian private HEIs. The results are compared to studies from USA and UK, highlighting the maturity on enablers, principles, tools and performance measures related to Lean.

Design/methodology/approach

A quantitative survey research was carried out. The instrument is adapted for HEIs from the proposal of Malmbrandt and Åhlström (2013) for Lean services. Cronbach’s alpha and factor analysis were used to validate the adapted instrument. Additional data analysis was based on non-parametric tests.

Findings

No evidence of broad implementation of Lean thinking in administrative processes of Brazilian private HEIs was found, with the adoption being incipient. The results are convergent to those presented by other studies in the USA and the UK. There is a gap between the existing knowledge about Lean in the academic sphere of the HEIs and its application on their academic processes.

Research limitations/implications

The effective sample size was of 47, despite contacts being sent to 2,090 institutions. This sample allows exploratory research, although further research is required. Results are adherent to those found in research from other countries.

Originality/value

The research presents descriptive and exploratory results regarding the adoption of Lean in Brazilian HEIs. No previous similar research was found in the literature.

Keywords

Citation

Petrusch, A., Roehe Vaccaro, G.L. and Luchese, J. (2019), "They teach, but do they apply? An exploratory survey about the use of Lean thinking in Brazilian higher education institutions", International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 743-766. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLSS-07-2017-0089

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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