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From operational excellence to organizational significance: setting the tempo for change

Roland K. Yeo (Training and Development, Saudi Aramco, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)

Strategic HR Review

ISSN: 1475-4398

Article publication date: 19 July 2019

Issue publication date: 21 August 2019




The paper aims to discuss the transformation of a multinational organization, Global Co, through the deployment of an operational excellence system at a time of turbulence and complexity. It illuminates the opportunities and challenges of implementing the system from the perspective of learning and change.


A case study method was utilized in the research based on a four-year longitudinal study. Formal and informal interviews, unobtrusive observations and archival records formed the core of the data collection that led to key insights reported in this paper.


A structured approach to managing work processes is essential for ensuring efficiency and reliability in work output. Performance improvement is sustained by operational discipline that strives for consistency in daily work practices. Organizations develop self-healing mechanisms to help address work-related gaps and issues, turning constraints into enablers for improvement.


The paper provides a wider dimension of organizational performance from the learning and change perspective. It considers organizations as organisms with self-healing properties supported by operational discipline. It redefines the impact of operational excellence through organizational significance.



The author appreciates the candid views of employees from the case organization, without which the story in the article would not have been told with a deeper purpose. Feedback from the reviewers is also appreciated, as it has helped improve the impact of the article.


Yeo, R.K. (2019), "From operational excellence to organizational significance: setting the tempo for change", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 142-149.



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