The role of culture and leadership in lean transformation: a review and assessment model

Mohamad Al-Najem, Hom Dhakal, Nick Bennett

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    This study investigates how the organisational culture and leadership influence the implementation of lean system in organisations. In doing so, organisational culture, leadership and internal issues concerning human resources are incorporated and discussed. The study further explains how an organisation can benefit from assessment of their culture by adopting Lean Culture Assessment Model (LCAM). The Critical Success Factors (CSFs) for lean system and internal as well as external organisational factors in Toyota’s working culture that brings about positive impacts on lean implementation is discussed. It is found from the literature review that a number of factors such as top management commitment and leadership, empowerment and training of human resources, building relationship with suppliers and customers, enhancing departmental relations and teamwork need to be taken into account in order to implement a successful lean system. The purpose of this study is to bring this system into organisations’ attention and give them insight of valuating their weaknesses and strengths by implementing the proposed LCAM. The methodology for this study was based on secondary data that represents literatures referring to Toyota’s culture, lean’s CSFs and organisational culture. The literature review establishes the importance of organisational culture, its leadership and the human resources in any organisations’ success. Moreover, empirical evidence from the reviewed literature shows that an organisation cannot succeed in lean unless it has a healthy culture, skilled workers, the buy-in from the top management and a strong leadership. The key and essential part of an organisation was found to be the leaders who act as a cornerstone between top management and bottom line workers. The LCAM would enable the organisations to assess their internal culture before implementing lean management. The model has been designed by systematically incorporating the lean values, philosophy, principles and Toyota’s culture.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)119-138
    Number of pages20
    JournalInternational Journal of Lean Thinking
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012


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