Impact of improvement tools on standardization and stability goal practices Article (Web of Science)


  • PurposeThis paper empirically examines the implementation pattern of different types of lean management (LM) techniques on the shop-floor. Based on the socio-technical systems framework, LM techniques are classified as social improvement tools and technical process standardization and stability practices. This categorization facilitates investigating their implementation relationship in a complex production system.Design/methodology/approachBased on the survey data from managers of the three major US auto-manufacturers and their suppliers (n = 137), measurement scales are developed using confirmatory factor analysis for the LM process improvement, stability, and standardization constructs. Hypotheses are tested by applying the Sobel test technique for mediating regression.FindingsStatistical results confirm the mediation role of LM improvement tools between standardization and stability goal practices, indicating that technical process-oriented practices are not directly related and that their association is impacted by the corresponding implementation of social tools on the shop-floor.Practical implicationsThe results indicate that LM practices should not be randomly implemented on the shop-floor but rather adopted and executed based on a systematic pattern. In LM systems, the implementation of process stability, standardization, and improvement practices on the shop-floor are more tightly integrated than traditionally assumed.Originality/valueThis study establishes a new categorization of specific LM tools based on social and technical characteristics. The conclusions highlight the importance of adopting a social emphasize of continuous improvement to establish a technical focus of process standardization and stability for LM implementation success.


publication date

  • 2020

number of pages

  • 18

start page

  • 705

end page

  • 723


  • 31


  • 4