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Kaizen and continuous improvement – trends and patterns over 30 years
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Quality Management and Mechanical Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8839-2816
Universidad de Navarra, TECNUN, San Sebastian, Spain.
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Quality Management and Mechanical Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7621-2649
2018 (English)In: The TQM Journal, ISSN 1754-2731, E-ISSN 1754-274X, Vol. 30, no 4, p. 371-390Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to depict how Kaizen and continuous improvement (CI) are represented in scientific journals focusing on quality management (QM) from the 1980s until 2017. Additionally, the study aims to examine how Kaizen is studied and described and how the relationship between Kaizen and CI is portrayed. Design/methodology/approach: The study applies a mixed methods approach to search for tendencies and outlines concerning Kaizen and CI in four scientific journals focusing on QM and two focusing on OM. The data set contains entries from 1980 until 2017, which makes it possible to depict how Kaizen has evolved over more than 30 years. Findings: The findings show that Kaizen and CI attained special interest in the mid-1990s, after which interest appears to have decreased. However, the findings imply that a regenerated interest for the areas spiked post 2010. In addition, the results indicate that Kaizen is on the one hand accepted by one part of the management community but on the other hand completely ignored by the rest. Finally, the data illuminate a need to strengthen and clarify Kaizen’s theoretical basis and its relationship to CI. Practical implications: If an aspiration exists to increase the success rate of Kaizen implementation, the results from the study highlight the need to address and clarify epistemological, terminological and theoretical issues. Originality/value: Prior data mining studies pinpointing how Kaizen and CI have evolved over the last 30 years appear not to exist. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 30, no 4, p. 371-390
Keywords [en]
Continuous improvement, Kaizen, Management fashion, Quality management, Text mining, TQM
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-34545DOI: 10.1108/TQM-03-2018-0037Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85048752820OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-34545DiVA, id: diva2:1251492
Available from: 2018-09-27 Created: 2018-09-27 Last updated: 2019-08-30Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Text Mining The Quality Paradigm(s)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Text Mining The Quality Paradigm(s)
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis orbits around an examination of the formation of a quality paradigm. In this inquiry, the exploration and application of text mining have been used to provide new insights into quality as a paradigm.

The findings reveal the existence of unifying topics, around which research on quality has clustered, constituting the foundational pillars of an academic quality paradigm. These foundational pillars are operational paradigms that embody both epistemological perspectives and operational concerns regarding quality. The three operative paradigms upon which the quality paradigm rests are the operative paradigm of back-end quality (orbiting around: QM, TQM and service quality), the operative paradigm of middle-way quality (orbiting around: ISO, BEMs and Quality Awards) and the operative paradigm of front-end quality (orbiting around: Reliability, Costs and Processes). The three operative paradigms differ in their levels of abstraction, accountability and system-learning emphasis. However, the mutual purpose and aim of the three operative paradigms, and hence the paradigm as a whole, is to continuously control, assure and develop systems affecting quality initiatives in service of the customer(s).

The findings also indicate that the operative paradigms of back-end and front-end quality seem to be specializing and drifting apart, which might lead to a division of the quality paradigm into two separate paradigms.

The studies in this thesis also confirm the existence of changes in the focus and popularity of specific topics. However, the key epistemological findings are the central and perpetual research topics that are identified – supporting the supposition that research on quality truly constitutes a delimited and recognized research paradigm.

Furthermore, the studies show that research on quality expanded during the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s, after which a contraction took place, followed by stability at the start of the 21st century. Consequently, it is found that research on quality entered a stable and mature phase in the 21st century, settling down as a distinctive and established research paradigm.

Finally, it is found that the exploration and application of text mining is a potent approach when probing the epistemological foundations of an academic discipline.

Abstract [sv]

Syftet med denna avhandling var att undersöka kvalitetsparadigmets uppbyggnad och utveckling. För ändamålet har text mining utforskats och tillämpats.

Resultaten påvisar en grund av förenande ämnen kring vilka kvalitetsforskningen har cirkulerat och som tillsammans utgör grundpålar för det akademiska kvalitetsparadigmet. Dessa grundpelare är operationella paradigm som innefattar både epistemologiska liksom praktiska perspektiv gällande forskningen om kvalitet. De tre operativa paradigmen som bär upp kvalitetsparadigmet utgörs av: det operativa paradigmet av styrningskvalitet (innefattande: QM, TQM och servicekvalitet), det operativa paradigmet av medelvägskvalitet (innefattande: ISO, utmärkelsemodeller och kvalitetspris) och det operativa paradigmet av brukarkvalitet (innefattande: tillförlitlighet, kostnader och processer). De tre paradigmen skiljer sig åt gällande abstraktionsnivå, ansvar och betoning av systemlärande. Det gemensamma syftet och målsättning för paradigmen är dock att kontinuerligt kontrollera, säkra och utveckla systempåverkande kvalitetsförbättringsinitiativ till gagn för kunden.

Resultaten indikerar även att det operativa paradigmet av styrningskvalitet respektive brukarkvalitet blir allt mer specialiserade och därmed glider isär. Vilket riskerar att slita itu kvalitetsparadigmet i två separata paradigm.

Studierna bekräftar även förekomsten av förändringar i popularitet liksom fokus för vissa ämnen. Den centrala epistemologiska iakttagelsen är dock de bestående och återkommande forskningsteman som identifierats som stärker tesen att kvalitetsforskningen verkligen utgör ett avgränsat och erkänt forskningsparadigm.

Studierna visar även att kvalitetsforskningen expanderade under slutet på 1980-talet och början av 1990-talet. Därefter skedde en nedgång i forskningsaktivitet som dämpades i början av 2000-talet, varefter stabilitet och mognad infunnit sig. Vilket kan ses som en ytterligare indikator för att ämnet etablerat sig som ett distinkt och erkänt forskningsparadigm.

Slutligen visar resultaten att utforskning och tillämpning av text mining är en kraftfull metod för att undersöka de epistemologiska grunderna i en akademisk disciplin.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University, 2019. p. 118
Series
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 301
Keywords
Quality Paradigm, Quality Movement, Quality Revolution, Quality Management, QM, Total Quality Management, TQM, Business Excellence, Text Mining, Data Mining, Kvalitetsparadigm, Kvalitetsrörelsen, Kvalitetsteknik, Offensiv Kvalitetsutveckling, Text Mining, Data Mining
National Category
Reliability and Maintenance
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-36209 (URN)978-91-88947-10-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-06-14, Q221, Akademigatan 1, Östersund, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Vid tidpunkten för disputationen var följande delarbeten opublicerade: delarbete 5 inskickat, delarbete 6 inskickat.

At the time of the doctoral defence the following papers were unpublished: paper 5 submitted, paper 6 submitted.

Available from: 2019-05-28 Created: 2019-05-27 Last updated: 2019-05-28Bibliographically approved

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Carnerud, DanielBäckström, Ingela

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