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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2020

Gorka Unzueta, Aritz Esnaola and Jose Alberto Eguren

In this study, a frame of reference was developed to adapt and execute a continuous improvement process (CIP) for reinforcing a continuous improvement (CI) culture in an…

Abstract

Purpose

In this study, a frame of reference was developed to adapt and execute a continuous improvement process (CIP) for reinforcing a continuous improvement (CI) culture in an organisation. The study was undertaken in a mature capital goods company that did not succeed in institutionalising CI despite deploying many CI tools over the years. The organisation thus needed a model that was adapted to its reality and strengthened the aspects of CI through cultural changes at the organisational level.

Design/methodology/approach

Action research was used to implement the CIP, and this research method was reinforced using a hermeneutic phenomenological approach to analyse the results.

Findings

The CIP was validated in four units of analysis within the organisation. For the validation, aspects relevant to organisational cultural change and their metrics were identified. The results showed that the main barriers to the development of CI in the case organisation were lack of teamwork and poor assimilation of new CI routines.

Research limitations/implications

The study was applied only in one organisation. Therefore, results cannot be generalized although the process and methodology followed to adapt and implement the CIP could be applied within other organisations.

Originality/value

The paper presents a CI frame of reference and describes how a CIP applied to a small- and medium-sized industrial enterprise generated cultural changes and promoted organisational excellence in the pursuit of CI, by using a hermeneutic phenomenological methodology approach.

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1995

Edwin A. Locke and Vinod K. Jain

Spurred by the globalization of competition, organizational learning and continuous improvement have attracted a great deal of research and managerial interest in recent…

Abstract

Spurred by the globalization of competition, organizational learning and continuous improvement have attracted a great deal of research and managerial interest in recent years. Notwithstanding the growing literature on these topics, there is still considerable conceptual ambiguity about organizational learning and continuous improvement among researchers. The paper clarifies the underlying processes through which organizations “learn,” highlights the role of learning in continuous improvement programs, and shows how an organization may go about building a continuous improvement culture. Specific tools and techniques of organizational learning which may be used in continuous improvement programs are also discussed.

Details

The International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1055-3185

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Article
Publication date: 3 July 2017

Rupert Lawrence Matthews, Bart L. MacCarthy and Christos Braziotis

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how organisational learning (OL) can occur through process improvement (PI) activities, leading to sustained improvements over…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how organisational learning (OL) can occur through process improvement (PI) activities, leading to sustained improvements over time in the context of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Design/methodology/approach

The authors study PI practices in six engineering-oriented SMEs via interview-based case studies. The authors draw from a range of literature and use an OL conceptual framework informed by Crossan et al.’s (1999) 4I framework as an analytical lens.

Findings

The OL perspective provides new insights to conceptualise the nature of PI as a multi-level practice in SMEs. Effective PI practices within SMEs are shown to be consistent with OL concepts, enabling firms to translate individually identified improvement opportunities into organisational-level changes that result in sustained benefits. A new conceptual model is presented that explains how SMEs can learn through improvement activities. The key role of management support, both operational and strategic, is highlighted. It is necessary for management to provide sufficient PI opportunities to enable and sustain beneficial learning.

Research limitations/implications

The study is based on a sample of engineering-oriented SMEs located in the UK. Further case-based, longitudinal, and survey-based research studies with firms of different types will enhance the generalisability of the findings, allowing the confirmation and extension of the new conceptual model.

Practical implications

The findings provide a theoretically underpinned framework for achieving OL in engineering-oriented SMEs through PI activities. The new model highlights the key mechanisms that enable learning from improvement activities. The findings highlight the key role played by management in introducing additional learning opportunities in the form of new business that requires exploratory learning. Without this, the reduction in improvement opportunities reduces the benefits that can be realised from PI.

Originality/value

OL provides a multi-level perspective to understanding how smaller firms are able to undergo systematic improvements and the support required to continually improve.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 37 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 16 May 2008

David A. Shupe

The purpose of this paper is to present the full range of choices that academic institutions presently have for attending to educational results.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the full range of choices that academic institutions presently have for attending to educational results.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach takes the form of a systematic comparison of the eight models currently available to colleges and universities for attending to educational results, relative to four necessary organizational purposes: individual student improvement, individual student accountability, organizational improvement, and organizational accountability.

Findings

This is a time of innovation, not of standardization. As new choices become available, the standard for accountability for educational results continues to rise.

Originality/value

The choices, ranging from established practices to expected alternatives to unexpected innovations, differ significantly in their capacities.

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 1997

Yoram Mitki, A.B. (Rami) Shani and Zvi Meiri

The firm’s structural inertia seems to be a crucial roadblock in continuous improvement efforts. The management paradigm shift required in the transition towards a…

Abstract

The firm’s structural inertia seems to be a crucial roadblock in continuous improvement efforts. The management paradigm shift required in the transition towards a continuous improvement culture is from individual‐based learning to system‐based learning. Explores the role of an organizational learning mechanism in overcoming the barriers for continuous improvement. Examines the implications of the creation of a parallel learning structure mechanism and its concomitant impact on continuous improvement in a paper mill firm over an eight‐year period. Concludes with the identification and discussion of some theoretical issues.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 10 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Article
Publication date: 11 April 2016

Nasser Habtoor

The purpose of this paper is to explore the influence of human factors in quality management on quality improvement practices and organisational performance in the Yemeni…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the influence of human factors in quality management on quality improvement practices and organisational performance in the Yemeni industrial sector.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected via a quantitative survey with a questionnaire distributed to 261 managers from 87 industrial companies. Replies from 210 managers give a response rate of 80 per cent. Data were analysed with Statistical Package for the Social Sciences 16.0, including factor analysis, reliability analysis, descriptive statistics, and correlation analysis. Structural equation modelling was carried out using Amos to evaluate the model and hypotheses.

Findings

Human factors influence positively quality improvement practices and organisational performance. Quality improvement practices positively influence organisational performance. Human factors indirectly and significantly influence organisational performance via the mediator of quality improvement practices.

Research limitations/implications

The findings will be useful to both researchers and managers, especially those in Yemeni industrial companies. For further work, this study can be expanded to cover companies in other Middle East countries, and it may include more human factors.

Originality/value

The study is one of a few that investigate the influence of human factors on quality management. Additionally, this study is the first to carry out such research in the Yemen and the Middle East region.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 65 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 25 July 2008

Ann Scheck McAlearney

Increased attention to improve patient safety in healthcare has challenged healthcare managers to consider innovative approaches to meet this need. Organizational

Abstract

Increased attention to improve patient safety in healthcare has challenged healthcare managers to consider innovative approaches to meet this need. Organizational development (OD) programs have been used in both health services and other industries to address organizational training and development requirements, and can provide focused, timely, and effective education and training to a broad spectrum of program participants. In healthcare organizations, OD programs can serve an important institutional function by providing a framework through which patient safety can be emphasized as an organizational priority, and patient safety training can be delivered as part of OD efforts. In addition, organizations committed to creating a patient-focused safety culture can use OD initiatives strategically to support organizational culture change efforts. This chapter describes different approaches to including patient safety in an OD framework, drawing from both management theory and practice. Findings from three extensive qualitative studies of leadership development and corporate universities in healthcare provide specific examples of how healthcare organizations discuss patient safety improvement using this alternative approach. Considering the concepts and findings described in this chapter can help healthcare organizations make strides toward positive changes in organizational culture that will promote patient safety on the organizational agenda.

Details

Patient Safety and Health Care Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84663-955-5

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Article
Publication date: 20 July 2010

Raed Ismail Ababaneh

This study seeks to investigate empirically the impact of organizational culture (bureaucratic, innovative, and supportive) and quality improvement practices.

Abstract

Purpose

This study seeks to investigate empirically the impact of organizational culture (bureaucratic, innovative, and supportive) and quality improvement practices.

Design/methodology/approach

Data used in this study were obtained through a questionnaire by random sampling, which took place in four large public hospitals, located in Irbid Governorate, Jordan, involving 271 managers, physicians, and nurses.

Findings

Quality improvement practices were measured by 16 statements on a five‐point rating scale. Each of the three types of organizational culture was measured using five items on a five‐point rating scale.

Practical implications

The three types of culture have a significantly positive influence on quality improvement practices, and account for 62 per cent of the variation of quality improvement practices. Compared with bureaucratic and supportive cultures, innovative culture appears to play a stronger role in quality improvement practices. Contrary to expectations, the analysis shows that bureaucratic actions enhance rather than hinder quality improvement practices. Respondents with a bachelor or a higher degree and participating in a training course related to quality reported higher prevalence of each culture and a higher level of quality improvement practices.

Originality/value

Innovative culture has a crucial role in quality improvement practices compared with bureaucratic and supportive cultures.

Details

Leadership in Health Services, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1879

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Article
Publication date: 7 October 2014

Colm Heavey, Ann Ledwith and Eamonn Murphy

– The purpose of this paper is to develop and validate a new framework for continuous improvement.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop and validate a new framework for continuous improvement.

Design/methodology/approach

The literature review on customer value and strategic quality provides the basis for the identification of a conceptual framework for continuous improvement. This conceptual framework is validated using the in-depth interview and the survey approach.

Findings

The empirical study concluded that the new framework contains all the core components or forces of continuous improvement. These forces are customer value focused co-leadership, customer value focused strategic objectives, improvement specialists with people performance knowledge and improvement methodology. By adopting this framework, all process personnel can have a role to play in process improvement leading to increased organisational returns on investment. Overall, it is an effective framework that is easily understood and can be applied throughout any process led organisation. This is supported by the empirical data.

Practical implications

This new framework can demonstrate to each organisational employee where they fit into the organisational continuous improvement strategy. This paper provides practitioners with a new validated continuous improvement framework that has application in all organisations that are involved in process customer value improvement. The researchers contend that this new framework can compliment existing continuous improvement frameworks.

Originality/value

This paper develops and validates a new framework for continuous improvement. By adopting this framework, all process personnel can have a role to play in process improvement leading to increased organisational returns on investment. This is supported by the empirical data. Also, the authors contend that this framework embraces the systems thinking approach (Conti, 2010) or systemic approach as people interact with customers, processes, improvement methodologies and each other to drive customer value improvement. Consequently, this generates a need to take global view of the combined effect of all customer value improvement components. This systems thinking can feed into future research.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. 26 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

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Article
Publication date: 23 May 2008

Billy Tat Wai Yu and To Wai Ming

This paper aims to describe an application of key concepts in agency theory to organizational development. Specifically, it seeks to highlight that formal control systems…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to describe an application of key concepts in agency theory to organizational development. Specifically, it seeks to highlight that formal control systems, the ways to regulate employees' performance, are associated with an important factor for organizational development – the capacity for improvement.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents a literature review on organizational development and agency theory, and an empirical examination of the relationships between bureaucratic control systems, task programmability and the organization's capacity for improvement. The hypotheses of interrelationships among different control systems, task programmability and the capacity for improvement were tested with a sample of 237 employees in the service industry.

Findings

Results indicate that input control is a significant factor in determining an organization's capacity for improvement, and task programmability moderates the relation between a bureaucratic control and the organization's capacity for improvement.

Research limitations/implications

The results are based on a cross‐sectional self‐report study. It is advisable to include managers' assessment of subordinates' capacity of improvement in further research.

Originality/value

The effect of formal controls on organizational performance was controversial. This paper reveals the moderating role of task programmability in a control‐performance relationship. In doing so, this paper sheds light on how a manager can enhance his/her subordinates' performance on organizational improvement through different control tactics.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Keywords

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