To read this content please select one of the options below:

On the integration of manufacturing strategy: deconstructing Hoshin Kanri

Matthias Thürer (Jinan University, Guangzhou, China)
Thomas Maschek (Technical University Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany)
Lawrence Fredendall (College of Business and Behavioral Science, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA)
Peter Gianiodis (Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)
Mark Stevenson (Department of Management Science, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK)
Jochen Deuse (Technical University Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany)

Management Research Review

ISSN: 2040-8269

Article publication date: 22 November 2018

Issue publication date: 20 March 2019




The purpose of this paper is to show that Hoshin Kanri has the potential to integrate the operations strategy literature into a coherent structure. Hoshin Kanri’s planning process is typically described as a top-down cascading of goals, starting with the senior management’s goals and moving to the lowest organizational level. The authors argue that this misrepresents a firm’s actual cognitive processes in practice because it implies reasoning from the effects to the cause, and assumes a direct causal relationship between what the customer wants and what is realizable by the system.


This study is conceptual, based on abductive reasoning and the literature.


The actual strategic thought process executed in an organization consists of three iterative processes: (i) a translation process that derives the desired customer attributes from customer/stakeholder data, (ii) a process of causal inference that predicts realizable customer attributes from a possible system design and (iii) an integrative process of strategic choices whereby (i) and (ii) are aligned. Each element relies on different cognitive processes (logical relation, causal relation and choice).

Research limitations/implications

By aligning the thought and planning processes, the competing concepts of manufacturing strategy are integrated into a coherent structure.

Practical implications

Different techniques have to be applied for each of the three elements. As each element relies on different cognitive processes (logical relation, causal relation and choice), the use of unifying tools (e.g. in the form of matrices, as often presented in the literature) is inappropriate.


This is the first study to focus on the thought processes underpinning manufacturing strategy.



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [Grant Number 71750410694] and the Guangdong Province Universities and Colleges Pearl River Scholar Funded Scheme 2017.


Thürer, M., Maschek, T., Fredendall, L., Gianiodis, P., Stevenson, M. and Deuse, J. (2019), "On the integration of manufacturing strategy: deconstructing Hoshin Kanri", Management Research Review, Vol. 42 No. 3, pp. 412-426.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles