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Six Sigma for dynamic capabilities development: becoming more flexible organizations

Leopoldo Gutierrez-Gutierrez (Department of Business Administration, University of Granada, Granada, Spain)
Vanesa Barrales-Molina (University of Granada, Granada, Spain)
Marisel Fernandez-Giordano (University of Granada, Granada, Spain)
Beatriz López-Morales (University of Granada, Granada, Spain)

International Journal of Lean Six Sigma

ISSN: 2040-4166

Article publication date: 3 June 2019

Issue publication date: 14 January 2020



Once the operational benefits of Six Sigma are well-recognized in the literature, this research advances the strategic advantages of this initiative. Thus, this paper aims to analyze how dynamic capabilities (DCs) mediates the relationship between Six Sigma implementation and organizational flexibility, not discussed in the literature yet.


Data from 66 Six Sigma European firms are used for a structural equation modeling and additional tests –Baron and Kenny’s test and Preacher and Hayes’s test – to analyze the mediating role of DCs. Following the scholars’ recommendations, the authors have created a second-order factor explained by knowledge absorption, organizational learning and knowledge integration to measure DCs. Flexibility, understood as the capacity for organizational adaptation, is measured through its operational and strategic dimensions.


The results show a significant relationship between Six Sigma practices – team management and statistical metrics – and DCs. In addition, the authors find support for a significant relationship between DCs and the operational and strategic dimensions of flexibility. Finally, the results confirm that DCs act as a mediating variable in the relationship between Six Sigma practices and flexibility.

Practical implications

The study contributes to literature that supports the decision to implement Six Sigma. In particular, key Six Sigma practices are identified for those managers who wish to foster DCs generation and organizational flexibility inside their companies.


This research analyzes the relationship between Six Sigma and strategic variables, answering the call for research about Six Sigma influence on long-term organizational success.



Gutierrez-Gutierrez, L., Barrales-Molina, V., Fernandez-Giordano, M. and López-Morales, B. (2020), "Six Sigma for dynamic capabilities development: becoming more flexible organizations", International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 35-56.



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