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Six Sigma methodology: a structured review

Ravi S. Reosekar (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani, Pilani, India)
Sanjay D. Pohekar (Mechanical Engineering Area, Tolani Maritime Institute, Pune, India)

International Journal of Lean Six Sigma

ISSN: 2040-4166

Article publication date: 28 October 2014




The main aim of the present study is to explore field of Six Sigma and discover the limitation of the present research work. The study also tries to find emerging aspects, trends and future directions and explore unfocused areas of Six Sigma. The present study involves an analysis of 179 research articles published from 1995 to 2011 in 52 selected reputable journals.


The methodology of critical assessment involves selection and classification of 179 research articles on Six Sigma. The selected articles are classified by: time distribution of articles, research methodology, research stream, authorship patterns, sector-wise focus of articles, integration with other manufacturing philosophies, implementation status and performance measurement of the models or framework. Then, the suggestions for the future scope of research possibilities and development are identified.


The study provides a taxonomical and integrated review of articles. Further, this study provides perspectives on conceptualization and various critical parameters for research. Through this literature review, many issues are addressed which have not previously been adequately covered. The findings include: increase in empirical nature of research articles, need for spreading research in the field of Six Sigma implementation, need for more interregional research collaborations, need for integration of Six Sigma philosophy with other philosophies and lack of implementation, i.e. testing and validation of the proposed models or frameworks by researchers.

Practical implications

The present study has explored an unfocused area of Six Sigma which will help future researchers to concentrate on the grey areas of Six Sigma. The study will help professionals to get a comprehensive database of Six Sigma articles and their use in practical situation. The results obtained from the study are expected to help researchers, academics and professionals to focus on the growth, pertinence and research developments to implement Six Sigma principles.


This paper will be of great help for those carrying out research in Six Sigma field including academics and practitioners in terms of Six Sigma growth describing the trends, sources and findings. The unique feature of this research is the large sample size and a time span of 16 years (1995-2011). The unique feature of this research is the large sample size and a time span of 16 years (1995-2011).



S. Reosekar, R. and D. Pohekar, S. (2014), "Six Sigma methodology: a structured review", International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 392-422.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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