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Lean implementation, work environment and sustainability
KTH, School of Technology and Health (STH), Health Systems Engineering, Ergonomics.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5338-0586
KTH, School of Technology and Health (STH), Health Systems Engineering, Ergonomics.
2015 (English)In: Sustainable Development in Organizations: Studies on Innovative Practices / [ed] Elg, M., Ellström, P-E., Klofsten, M., and Tillmar, M, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2015, 29-41 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Lean is introduced in industry as well as in the public sector. Previous research has criticized Lean for creating bad working conditions. Also sustainability of organizational changes is claimed to be low. The aim of this chapter is to describe consequences for working conditions and sustainability as a result of implementations of Lean in manufacturing industry and in the public sector. A second aim is to give examples of the type of knowledge produced in an interactive research approach and to discuss the use of interactive research when implementing Lean. Two programs for implementing Lean were assessed through interactive research. The research showed that there is a huge variation between organizations regarding how Lean is interpreted, how it is implemented, and also regarding the outcomes. The majority of the employees in the manufacturing companies experienced that Lean meant improved working conditions, e.g. more participation, learning and development. However they also experienced more stress and repetitive work. For the public organizations, the employees experienced on average that the working conditions had deteriorated. Sustainability of the changes was also substantially lower than for the manufacturing companies. The interactive research approach enabled deep access to a broad sample of organizations and contributed to better relevance and validity of the research results.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Edward Elgar Publishing, 2015. 29-41 p.
Keyword [en]
business and management, management and sustainability, organisational innovation, organisation studies
National Category
Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-179855DOI: 10.4337/9781784716899.00008ISI: 000374407200003ISBN: 9781784716882OAI: diva2:890537

QC 20160201

Available from: 2016-01-04 Created: 2016-01-04 Last updated: 2016-09-02Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Reaching at Sustainable Development: Lean in the Public Sector
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reaching at Sustainable Development: Lean in the Public Sector
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The concept of sustainable development is commonly used worldwide. In the public sector, characterized by a rationalization focus, conclusions about the sustainability of lean production (lean), as a management concept for organizational change, are contradictory. This thesis aims to identify conditions promoting sustainable development in the public sector, in particular the healthcare sector, when implementing lean. Two qualitative and one quantitative case study were conducted using longitudinal data collection: focus group interviews, semi-structured interviews, analysis seminars, steering board meetings, and a questionnaire. The empirical data was collected from national lean programs in Sweden. The results describe that socio-technical principles may be used as indicators of sustainability as well as a guide in the implementation of lean in healthcare. Active ownership among stakeholders, a developmental view in the organization, stakeholder participation, organized joint innovative learning activities, role and goal clarity may be conditions influencing the sustainability of lean in the public sector. Furthermore, when supported by a favorable lean context, the results show that the lean tools value stream mapping, standardized work and 5S (housekeeping) may promote a sustainable implementation of lean in healthcare by the promotion of employees and managers’ working conditions and/or employee individual innovation. Visual follow-up boards may inhibit employees and managers’ job satisfaction, when not supported by job resources. Personnel stability, time for development, and information to be able to participate were in this context shown to be central job resources. In conclusion, conditions which may promote sustainable development in the public sector, when implementing lean are: stakeholder values of inclusive social well-being, an implementation process including stakeholder ownership and joint innovative learning, and a favorable lean context: balancing job resources and job demands. Lean tools may empower public healthcare employees to engage in development and counteract a poor implementation process and a poor lean context but only to a limited degree. The lean contexts studied were unfavorable, i.e., a weak implementation process and job resources not balancing the job demands. Hence, the lean implementations studied could not be considered sustainable.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2016. 72 p.
TRITA-STH : report, ISSN 1653-3836 ; 2016:7
Healthcare, participation, ownership, learning, clarity
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Technology and Health
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-191550 (URN)978-91-7729-090-2 (ISBN)
External cooperation:
Public defence
2016-09-23, T52, Hälsovägen 11C, Huddinge, 10:15 (English)
AFA Insurance, 100013

QC 20160901

Available from: 2016-09-01 Created: 2016-09-01 Last updated: 2016-09-02Bibliographically approved

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Eklund, JörgenLindskog, Pernilla
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