Title: The role of technology and people in the diffusion of lean production in the automotive supplier industry

Authors: William M. Mothersell

Addresses: Seidman College of Business, Grand Valley State University, Michigan, USA

Abstract: This study examined the extent to which technical and people systems of lean production affects department performance, the perceptions of department performance and work-related attitudes. A model was developed suggesting that the integration of technical and people systems will predict department performance, perception of department performance and work-related attitudes. Two manufacturing facilities from the automotive supplier industry participated in the study. A survey completed by 533 employees was developed to measure people systems of lean production. A technical systems assessment instrument was used to measure the extent to which the technical systems of lean production had been implemented at the department level. A total of 121 supervisors and superintendents provided survey data regarding perceived department effectiveness attributable to the implementation of lean production. Department performance measures also included uptime by department and shift for an eight-month period. Complete archival data was provided for 26 departments. The study results suggest that people systems predict work-related attitudes and influence perceptions of department performance by employees. Technical systems were strongly related to management perception of department performance. The people systems composite was significantly related to employee perceptions of department performance. The reverse relationship was shown for management perception of department performance.

Keywords: Toyota Production System; TPS; diffusion; lean production; people systems; technical systems; automotive suppliers; lean manufacturing; work-related attitudes; employee perceptions; management perception; department performance; automobile industry.

DOI: 10.1504/IJATM.2009.027169

International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, 2009 Vol.9 No.3, pp.290 - 315

Published online: 17 Jul 2009 *

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