Lean Six Sigma (LSS) has been one of the most widely used quality improvement initiatives over the last decade. However, the success rate of LSS is dismally poor, and most organizations discontinue LSS initiatives prematurely. The purpose of this paper is to answer the question why do organizations discontinue LSS initiatives?
To understand the discontinuance mechanism of LSS initiatives, the authors selected two companies. One from the manufacturing and one from service sector in India. The companies were selected as they had initially implemented LSS, and later within six years had discontinued the initiatives. Four projects from each company were studied using case study methodology.
This study finds 11 factors due to which the organizations discontinue LSS initiatives. The factors are poor success rate, unrealistic expectations from LSS, unsustainable results, misuse of statistics, large tool set, unsupportive and uncommitted top management, lack of training and development, lack of synergy of LSS and business strategy, lack of link between LSS and customer needs, wrong projects selection and premature discontinuation of LSS experts. The study further discusses the discontinuance mechanisms of LSS using propositions.
LSS is one of the most widely used initiatives in the organizations. Such initiatives involve costs. Earlier studies have reported that many organizations discontinue the LSS initiatives resulting in a loss or not meeting the intended goals. This paper will help the practitioners as well as organizations to understand why organizations discontinue LSS and take prompt actions for its success.
Earlier studies on LSS address the critical success factors, and this paper addresses those about failures by studying organizations that have discontinued LSS. The present study finds 11 factors that are responsible for discontinuing LSS in organizations. In addition, propositions are developed for future research and empirical testing. This study also offers further insights into the discontinuance mechanisms involved in LSS.
The authors whole heartedly thank the anonymous reviewers whose constructive suggestions have improved the quality of this paper.
Sony, M., Naik, S. and Therisa, K. (2019), "Why do organizations discontinue Lean Six Sigma initiatives?", International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 36 No. 3, pp. 420-436. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJQRM-03-2018-0066Download as .RIS
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