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Organizational culture for lean programs

Pedro Ernesto Pereira Paro (Department of Production Engineering, Sao Carlos School of Engineering, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Carlos, Brazil) (Trustin – Culture that Drives Performance, Consulting Firm, Brazil)
Mateus Cecilio Gerolamo (Department of Production Engineering, Sao Carlos School of Engineering, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Carlos, Brazil)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 3 July 2017




Recent studies suggest that the implementation of Lean will only be successful when aligned with organizational culture (OC). The purpose of this paper is to understand an Ideal Lean Culture (ILC) in the Brazilian context.


This diagnosis is based on the Competing Values Framework, and it is the result of a survey with 51 experts in charge of implementation of Lean programs in organizations operating in different industry segments in Brazil.


The results show that an ILC for Brazilian organizations seems to have the dominant profile of the hierarchy culture, thus characterizing a highly structured and formal place, with rules and procedures governing the behavior of people.

Research limitations/implications

Some limitations of this study include: although a survey has been applied, the research cannot be classified as a quantitative study; it brings the opinion of a limited number of Brazilian experts about lean programs; both the sample size could be increased and the nationality of respondents could be expanded for future research.

Practical implications

It is proposed that an organization (or an area of the organization) that wants to be successful in its lean journey must, first, measure its OC and then promote a cultural profile aligned with the results presented in this paper. By doing so, it is expected that this lean journey should have a higher probability of long-term success and sustainability of lean practices, concepts and philosophy.


In the last two decades much has been written about the importance of OC in the success of lean programs. However, very few studies has mapped and measured an ILC in a way that allows researchers, consultants and managers to evaluate if an OC is close to or distant from an ILC.



The authors would like to thank the survey respondents and also the anonymous reviewers of the Journal of Organizational Change Management for their fundamental suggestions that enriched the final version of this manuscript.


Paro, P.E.P. and Gerolamo, M.C. (2017), "Organizational culture for lean programs", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 584-598.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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