Title: Continuous improvement: design, organisation and management

Authors: Per Lindberg, Anders Berger

Addresses: Chalmers University of Technology and Centre for Research on Organisational Renewal (CORE), Goteborg, Sweden. Chalmers University of Technology and CORE, Goteborg, Sweden

Abstract: The paper analyses and describes strategies for designing, organising and managing systems for Continuous Improvement (CI). CI is defined as a broad change program, planned, organised and systematic, and distinguished from project based models of change. Based on case studies and survey research, four basic strategies for the design and organisation of CI are identified: three team-based strategies and one individually based strategy. These, in turn, depend on the basic task design (individual or group tasks), and whether the improvement task is integrated or parallel. It is argued that the design largely depend on the definition of process, goals and content of the improvement tasks. Further, it is shown that companies tend to move from expert-oriented strategies to more organic strategies as maturity evolves, and that Swedish models for CI seems to be more organic in nature, as compared to the more expert-oriented Japanese approaches.

Keywords: continuous improvement; organisation; management performance; kaizen.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.1997.001710

International Journal of Technology Management, 1997 Vol.14 No.1, pp.86-101

Published online: 17 Aug 2003 *

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