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Leadership style as an antecedent to effective Six Sigma implementation

Anthony Bagherian (Internatioal Business, International School of Management, Paris, France)
Mark Gershon (Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)
Sunil Kumar (GITAM School of Business, Visakhapatnam, India)

Journal of Advances in Management Research

ISSN: 0972-7981

Article publication date: 14 June 2023

Issue publication date: 24 October 2023




The effectiveness of Six Sigma programs has varied across different industries and organizations, and leadership styles have been identified as a critical success factor for the installation of Six Sigma initiatives. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the specific elements of leadership styles that are linked with the successful deployment of Six Sigma programs in the automobile industry.


To conduct the study, the researchers utilized a Likert scale questionnaire with a rating system of 1–7 and a simple random sampling method. The survey was distributed to 2,325 potential participants, with 573 responses received, mostly from Germany, the United Kingdom and Sweden. Out of those responses, 260 completed questionnaires were received. The study utilized a mixed-methods research design and exploratory research approaches to investigate the implication of leadership style on the success of Six Sigma implementation. The research employed several analysis techniques, including Structural Equation Modeling (SEM), exploratory factor analysis (EFA), confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and Survey methods.


Through various SEM methods, such as EFA and CFA, the study revealed two vital leadership elements: (1) the long-term success of Six Sigma depends on leadership’s support and recognition of it as an improvement strategy and (2) leadership must commit to the organization’s suppliers to ensure quality and the provision of defect-free products.

Practical implications

By incorporating the identified key elements of leadership into their strategies, organizations and researchers can ensure the sustainable implementation of Six Sigma.


This research presents a distinct contribution to the evaluation of leadership style components within the European automotive sector, utilizing a mixed-methods research design and incorporating a variety of descriptive statistics.



Corrigendum: It has come to the attention of the publisher of the article Bagherian, A., Gershon, M. and Kumar, S. (2023), “Leadership style as an antecedent to effective Six Sigma implementation”, Journal of Advances in Management Research, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print., that the affiliation details of Sunil Kumar were incorrectly submitted as “GITAM Institute of Science, Visakhapatnam, India”. The affiliation has been changed to “GITAM School of Business, Visakhapatnam, India”.


Bagherian, A., Gershon, M. and Kumar, S. (2023), "Leadership style as an antecedent to effective Six Sigma implementation", Journal of Advances in Management Research, Vol. 20 No. 5, pp. 821-854.



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