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Packages of participation: Swedish employees´experience of Lean depends on how they are involved
KTH, School of Technology and Health (STH), Health Systems Engineering, Ergonomics.
Departments of Medicine and Biomedical Informatics, Center for Research and Innovation in Systems Safety, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
2013 (English)In: IIE Transactions on Occupational Ergonomics and Human Factors, ISSN 2157-7323, Vol. 1, no 2, 93-108 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Lean production is a dominant approach in Swedish and global manufacturing and service industries. Studies of Lean’s employee effects are few and contradictory. Purpose: Employee effects from Lean are likely not uniform. This article investigates the effect of employees’ participation on their experiences of Lean. Method: This study investigated how different packages of employee participation in Lean affected manufacturing workers’ experiences of Lean. During 2008–2011, qualitative and quantitative data were collected from Swedish manufacturing companies participating in the national Swedish Lean production program Produktionslyftet. Data from 129 surveys (28 companies), 39 semi-structured interviews, and 30 reports were analyzed. In the main analysis, comparisons were made of the survey-reported Lean experiences of employees in three groups: temporary group employees (N = 36), who participated in Lean mostly through intermittent projects; continuous group employees (N = 69), who participated through standing improvement groups; and combined group employees (N = 24), who participated in both ways. Results: Continuous group employees had the most positive experience of Lean, followed by the combined group. Temporary group employees had the least positive experiences, being less likely than their counterparts to report that Lean improved teamwork; occupational safety; and change-related learning, decision making, and authority. Conclusions: These findings support the importance of continuous, structured opportunities for participation but raise the possibility that more participation may result in greater workload and role overload, mitigating some benefits of employee involvement. Consequently, companies should consider involving employees in change efforts but should attend to the specific design of participation activities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 1, no 2, 93-108 p.
Keyword [en]
Organizational human factors, macroergonomics, organizational change, job design, quality of working life, Lean production
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-137427DOI: 10.1080/21577323.2012.729001OAI: diva2:678958
Knowledge Foundation, 2007/0339

QC 20140324

Available from: 2013-12-13 Created: 2013-12-13 Last updated: 2014-03-24Bibliographically approved

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Brännmark, Mikael
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