Understanding the main organisational antecedents of employee participation in continuous improvement

Daniel Jurburg (CINOI – Universidad de Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay)
Elisabeth Viles (TECNUN – Universidad de Navarra, Escuela de Ingenieros, San Sebastian, Spain)
Martin Tanco (CINOI – Universidad de Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay)
Ricardo Mateo (School of Economics & Business Administration, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain)
Álvaro Lleó (TECNUN – University of Navarra, San Sebastian, Spain)

The TQM Journal

ISSN: 1754-2731

Publication date: 8 May 2019



Companies use continuous improvement (CI) as a strategy to achieve business excellence and innovation. Yet CI initiatives fail mostly due to a lack of employee engagement. The paper aims to discuss this issue.


Based on the CI literature and the technology acceptance model (TAM), a comprehensive model called continuous improvement acceptance mode (CIAM) was developed to understand the main organisational antecedents that predict employee intention to participate in CI. The CIAM is based on structural equation modelling using partial least squares and it was validated in a large manufacturing plant in Europe.


Emulating the findings of the TAM, this study shows that employee intention to participate can be predicted by two variables called ease of participating and usefulness of participating. The CIAM then relates these constructs with relevant CI enablers found in the CI literature.

Practical implications

The CIAM could help academics and practitioners to better understand employee participation in CI activities, allowing CI systems to be better designed and achieve long-term sustainability.


The CIAM presents new variables and interactions that help to understand employee participation in CI activities. Some of these variables and interactions have received scant attention in the CI literature and thus they are worth investigating in greater depth in the future.



Jurburg, D., Viles, E., Tanco, M., Mateo, R. and Lleó, . (2019), "Understanding the main organisational antecedents of employee participation in continuous improvement", The TQM Journal, Vol. 31 No. 3, pp. 359-376. https://doi.org/10.1108/TQM-10-2018-0135

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