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  • Critical Success Factors for Sustaining Kaizen Event Outcomes

    Wiljeana Jackson Glover

    Dissertation submitted to the faculty of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in

    partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

    Doctor of Philosophy

    In

    Industrial and Systems Engineering

    Eileen M. Van Aken (Co-Chair)

    Jennifer A. Farris (Co-Chair)

    Toni L. Doolen

    Kimberly P. Ellis

    C. Patrick Koelling

    April 5, 2010

    Blacksburg, Virginia

    Keywords: Kaizen, Kaizen event, Teams, Lean production, Improvement sustainability

  • Critical Success Factors for Sustaining Kaizen Event Outcomes

    Wiljeana Jackson Glover

    ABSTRACT

    A Kaizen event is a focused and structured improvement project, using a dedicated cross-

    functional team to improve a targeted work area, with specific goals, in an accelerated

    timeframe. Kaizen events have been widely reported to produce positive change in business

    results and human resource outcomes. However, it can be difficult for many organizations to

    sustain or improve upon the results of a Kaizen event after it concludes. Furthermore, the

    sustainability of Kaizen event outcomes has received limited research attention to date.

    This research is based on a field study of 65 events across eight manufacturing

    organizations that used survey data collected at the time of the event and approximately nine to

    eighteen months after the event. The research model was developed from Kaizen event

    practitioner resources, Kaizen event literature, and related process improvement sustainability

    and organizational change literature. The model hypothesized that Kaizen Event Characteristics,

    Work Area Characteristics, and Post-Event Characteristics were related to Kaizen event

    Sustainability Outcomes. Furthermore, the model hypothesized that Post-Event Characteristics

    would mediate the relationship between Kaizen Event and Work Area Characteristics and the

    Sustainability Outcomes. The study hypotheses were analyzed through multiple regression

    models and generalized estimating equations were used to account for potential nesting effects

    (events within organizations).

    The factors that were most strongly related to each Sustainability Outcome were

    identified. Work Area Characteristics learning and stewardship and experimentation and

    continuous improvement and Post-Event Characteristics performance review and accepting

    changes were significant direct or indirect predictors of multiple Sustainability Outcomes and

    these findings were generally supported by the literature. There were also some unanticipated

    findings, particularly regarding the modeling of Sustainability Outcomes result sustainability and

    goal sustainability, which appear to illustrate potential issues regarding how organizations define

    and track the performance of Kaizen events over time and present areas for future research.

    Overall, this study advances academic knowledge regarding Kaizen event outcome

    sustainability. The findings also present guidelines so that practitioners may better influence the

    longer-term impact of Kaizen events on their organizations. The research findings may also

    extend to other improvement activities, thus presenting additional areas for future work.

  • iii

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

    I would like begin my acknowledgements by thanking my advisors, Dr. Eileen Van Aken and Dr.

    Jennifer Farris. Your expertise and constructive critiques challenged me to think deeply and to develop

    invaluable research skills. Thank you for championing my professional development. Thank you also for

    providing and supporting a countless number of developmental opportunities, including research,

    conference and seminar presentations, publications, funding, and teaching opportunities. And finally,

    thank you for cultivating my professional and personal maturation through your mentoring, honesty, and

    belief in my capabilities.

    To all of my committee members, thank you for your support of this dissertation and my graduate

    studies. To Dr. Toni Doolen, thank you also for the opportunity to conduct this research and for

    challenging me to consider different perspectives that influenced the structure of the research model. To

    Dr. Kimberly Ellis, thank you for your encouragement throughout my dissertation process and for your

    questions that led to the improved communication of my research. To Dr. C. Patrick Koelling, thank you

    for your advice to highlight and think critically about the overall influence of my work and its

    contributions. Thank you also for the opportunities to guest lecture during my time as your teaching

    assistant which greatly inspired my love of teaching.

    I would like to thank all of the organizations studied to extend the Kaizen event body of

    knowledge for participating in this research, especially the team facilitators, work area managers and all

    questionnaire respondents. In addition, I am grateful to the National Science Foundation for supporting

    this research under grant no. DMI-0451512. To June Worley, thank you for supervising the data

    collection and entry for the west coast organizations and for your positive, amazingly resilient, and

    inspiring personality. Thanks to my colleagues and co-authors Dr. Geert Letens, Wen-Hsing Liu,

    Pimsinee Chearskul, and Susan Hunter; I have learned valuable research-related and life lessons from

    each of you.

    Thanks to all of the faculty, staff, and graduate students of the Grado Department of Industrial

    and Systems Engineering. I am greatly appreciative of the knowledge, support, financial assistance Ive

    received from the department through the years. A special thanks and message to the Graduate

    Leadership Board, Dr. Koelling, and Hannah Swiger: please continue your noteworthy efforts to make the

    graduate experience for all students in ISE an academically enriching and enjoyable one.

    To all of the minority and women faculty members, researchers, and staff at Virginia Tech,

    Georgia Tech, and other institutions who have mentored and inspired me over the years, I appreciate you

    immensely and thank you. A special thanks to the Southern Regional Education Board for honoring me

    with a Dissertation Fellowship and the opportunity to attend the Annual Institute on Teaching and

    Learning in perpetuity to support my academic pursuits.

    To my Blacksburg families: St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church and Choir, the Black

    Graduate Student Organization (especially the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 Executive Boards), and the Tau

    Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (especially my fellow graduate sorority

    sisters), thank you for allowing me to serve and be served by your kindness and love. And thanks to all of

    my Operation Dissertation and Get Er Done writing group partners over the past year: Our

    accountability system was essential to the completion this document. A special thanks to Dr. Gena

    Chandler and the Rev. Dr. Lisa Tabor for your friendship and support as my daily writing partners.

    To my parents, Dr. Betty Graper and Willie Jackson Sr., and my brother, Willie, thank you for

    always reminding me that nothing is impossible with God and instilling in me the confidence to

    remember that I am the big round cookie at the top of the jar. To my extended family and friends,

    thank you for your encouragement and inspiration.

    To my husband, Marshaun Glover, I could not have asked for a more loving, understanding,

    strong, infectiously joyful, and positive spouse. Thank you for your unwavering support throughout this

    process. I am honored to be your wife and excited to celebrate your upcoming Ph.D. and our future. And

    to God who is the strength of my life, thank you for this great blessing and lesson in patience, obedience,

    growth, and service.

  • iv

    Table of Contents

    CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................................. 1 1.1 Research Motivation ................................................................................................................................................ 1 1.2 Research Purpose and Objectives ............................................................................................................................ 3 1.3 Research Model and Definitions.............................................................................................................................. 4 1.4 Research Hypotheses ............................................................................................................................................... 8 1.5 Overview of Research Design, Premises, and Delimitations ................................................................................... 9 1.6 Contributions of this Research ............................................................................................................................... 11

    CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW ..................................................................................................................... 15 2.1 The Systematic Literature Review Method ........................................................................................................... 15

    2.1.1 Phase 2: Development of the Review Protocol ......