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Continuous improvement initiatives for dynamic capabilities development: A systematic literature review

Leopoldo Gutierrez-Gutierrez (Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Granada, Granada, Spain)
Jiju Antony (Department of Business Management, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK)

International Journal of Lean Six Sigma

ISSN: 2040-4166

Article publication date: 14 June 2019

Issue publication date: 14 January 2020



This study aims to analyse the existing literature on continuous improvement (CI) initiatives and dynamic capabilities (DCs) development to explore the question whether CI initiatives foster development of DCs in organisations.


A systematic literature review (SLR) was undertaken. Four databases were included in the structured searches (EBSCOhost, Web of Knowledge, Scopus, ProQuest and Emerald Insight), 19 studies were finally included and analysed in detail.


The results obtained identify issues such as a growing trend in the publication of studies, the dominant position of the USA and the predominance of empirical papers. The literature was classified according to whether it presents CI as a DC in itself, as an enabler of DC or as a result of the DC. The main critical success factors to be implemented in CI initiatives (CII) were also identified, to enhance the development of DCs. Finally, based on the analysis of the specific DC literature, ten theoretical propositions for possible future research have been developed.


CII such as Lean Management, Six Sigma and Total Quality Management have been widely implemented in organisations. Despite their reputation, the effects of these initiatives on long-term benefits remain debated, this motivates the SLR of CII and DC. The DC theory tackles the question of how firms can sustain their advantage and profits in the long term, making this perspective ideal for tackling controversy on the benefits of CII.



Gutierrez-Gutierrez, L. and Antony, J. (2020), "Continuous improvement initiatives for dynamic capabilities development: A systematic literature review", International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 125-149.



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