Enhancing black belts via academic mastery

Barbara Maria Savage, Sampath K. Sreevathsan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    124 Downloads (Pure)


    Purpose - In May 2010, a new collaborative initiative was launched between the Portsmouth Business School (PBS) and Hewlett Packard (HP), wherein trained Black Belts were enabled to pursue an MSc in Strategic Quality Management. Five years on from its commencement, this paper explores the development and impact of this initiative.

    Methodology - Inductive, exploratory, multi-viewpoint participant observer case study that triangulates the academic, student and employer reactions to the programme.

    Findings - The paper evaluates how the academic dimension provided by the MSc has impacted on candidates’ work as Black Belts.

    Practical Implications - Employee engagement and enthusiasm has been increased, as has the depth and breadth of the knowledge base among the participating Black Belts, who are then applying these new skills in their improvement projects to make them more sustainable as well as financially valuable. They have been able to transfer knowledge to team members.

    Originality/Value - This approach provides a model for accelerated development of groups of quality professionals within larger organisations. There is evidence that the community spirit that grows within and across cohorts has a multiplying effect that enhances the impact for the sponsoring organisation beyond the simple sum of the performance and skills improvement on a student by student basis.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)909-923
    JournalBusiness Process Management Journal
    Issue number5
    Early online date1 Sept 2016
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


    • lean six sigma
    • academic development
    • sustainable development


    Dive into the research topics of 'Enhancing black belts via academic mastery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this