Title: An empirical investigation into Six Sigma critical success factors

Authors: Lee Revere, Sukran N. Kadipasaoglu, Faiza Zalila

Addresses: University of Houston – Clear Lake, School of Business Administration, 2700 Bay Area Blvd., Houston, TX 77058, USA. ' C.T. Bauer College of Business, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204, USA. ' Department of Business and Technology, DeVry University, 11125 Equity Drive, Houston, TX 77041, USA

Abstract: This pilot research explores the critical success factors of Six Sigma to gain insight into the gaps between Six Sigma theory and execution, and to understand the primary drivers of financial improvements. The findings demonstrate the key aspects that seem to be consistent among Six Sigma organisations. Results show organisations cite Six Sigma for cost reduction, notoriety of its success and increased revenues. Chi-square analyses indicate gaps exist between theory and actual practice across the three critical success factors of team selection, project selection and project implementation. A larger percent of respondents agree on the criticality of key tasks/issues, yet fewer companies execute them in practice. Regression results demonstrate the factors of team selection and project selection significantly impact the financial improvement performance of the responding organisations. These results are beneficial for researchers investigating Six Sigma, business leaders considering its implementation and for existing companies seeking to achieve even greater improvement gains.

Keywords: six sigma programmes; quality management; cost reduction; performance improvement; critical success factors; empirical research; survey study; financial improvement; team selection; project selection; project implementation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPQM.2006.008476

International Journal of Productivity and Quality Management, 2006 Vol.1 No.3, pp.224 - 252

Published online: 21 Dec 2005 *

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