The role of managerial perceptions and behaviors across hierarchical levels during lean implementation
International Journal of Operations & Production Management
Article publication date: 2 May 2023
Do managers at different hierarchical levels in a firm perceive the effectiveness of a lean program differently, and does it matter for their commitment to it and the resulting lean implementation? This study answers these questions by analyzing the perceptions and behaviors of top and middle managers in a manufacturer deploying a global lean program.
The authors hypothesize that managers at different levels perceive lean programs differently, which, in turn, should affect their commitment to lean and the resulting implementation. To test these relationships empirically, the authors collect survey data from a global manufacturer in the process industry and analyze them using hierarchical linear regression and structural equation modeling.
The findings show that middle managers perceive lean programs as more effective than top managers do. They further show that higher commitment from the top and middle managers to the lean program is positively related to building the organizational infrastructure needed for lean implementation.
This research is conducted in one global company. Although the research setting implicitly controls for many possible confounding variables, such as the product and process complexity or organizational culture, future research can explore and test the findings in other organizational contexts.
This study is the first to empirically study the relations between perceptions of and commitment to lean programs across different hierarchical levels and what it means for program implementation. The paper contributes new plausible explanations for why many lean programs slow down.
Januszek, S., Netland, T.H. and Furlan, A. (2023), "The role of managerial perceptions and behaviors across hierarchical levels during lean implementation", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-07-2022-0417
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