Title: Barriers to Six Sigma implementation in Chinese small and medium steel enterprises

Authors: Ghaith M. Al-Abdallah; Chew V. Lic

Addresses: Marketing Department, College of Business and Finance, American University of Madaba, P.O. Box Amman 11814, Jordan ' Tunku Abdul Rahman University College, Jalan Genting Kelang, Setapak, 53300 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Abstract: Six Sigma initiative has been in place for many years now and proven to be an effective methodology that serves to help enterprises achieve bottom-line improvements. Many large enterprises implement Six Sigma successfully and achieve cost saving of millions USD per year, however, it is a rare case that small and medium size enterprise employ Six Sigma methodology. This paper aims to identify the barriers to Six Sigma implementation in Chinese small and medium manufacturing enterprises in the steel industry. Interpretive paradigm was applied utilising qualitative research design, in which interviews were carried out on a convenience sample of small and medium steel enterprises in China. The results show that there are five main barriers to Six Sigma implementation for Chinese small and medium steel enterprise arranged in ascending order: conflict between Six Sigma culture and enterprise culture, the perception of Six Sigma is inefficient, lack of resources to implement Six Sigma, difficult to train or obtain enterprise-wide Six Sigma knowledge, high enterprise quality management system foundations requirements. The discussion, managerial implications and further research recommendations are provided based on the results of the study.

Keywords: Six Sigma; small and medium enterprises; SMEs; steel industry; China.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBEX.2020.108551

International Journal of Business Excellence, 2020 Vol.21 No.4, pp.445 - 466

Received: 30 Oct 2018
Accepted: 01 Feb 2019

Published online: 16 Jul 2020 *

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