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Make the Future a Part of Today: Awaken Long-term Thinking in Quality Management Practices
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Quality Management and Mechanical Engineering. (Kvalitetsteknik)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8609-6290
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Sustainable development
Hållbar utveckling
Abstract [en]

Individuals and organisations need to consider the future since actions taken today will have implications for the future. Long-term thinking as a concept encompasses consideration of the future and is identified in both quality management and sustainable development. Theoretical interpretations of long-term thinking include a variety of different aspects, for example values and principles. Long-term thinking is also identified as necessary for organisations challenged by rapid change and societal needs but is difficult to put into practice. 

Leaders play a significant role in organisations’ attempts to achieve quality and sustainability goals. They are, among other things, responsible for creating positive conditions for employees and taking decisions in line with organisational objectives. The research presented in this thesis provides deeper insights into the importance of leaders in applying long-term thinking and how to awaken long-term thinking in organisations.

The purpose of this thesis is to explore the concept of long-term thinking as an aspect of quality management from a leadership perspective to understand more about the praxis in making long-term thinking visible in organisations. For this purpose, the phenomenon of long-term thinking has been explored in both theory and in practice in several organisations.

For long-term thinking to be relevant, organisations need to set clear business intentions for the future. These serve as an anchor to connect visions, goals, strategies and plans, and provide a guide for leaders in their work. To practise long-term thinking in organisations that apply a quality management initiative, leaders need to understand the common values that constitute the organisational culture, how these values are linked and how they contribute to organisational objectives. One of the skills required of leaders who engage in long-term thinking is managing short-term and long-term challenges simultaneously. 

In leaders’ quest for sustainable quality development, they have a vital role in guiding employees and customers with regard to the organisational culture. Leaders guide through their behaviour and actions, and in so doing contribute to the prevailing culture of the organisation. This requires a consensus on, for instance, definitions and communication of long-term thinking. If leaders do not behave and act in accordance to this, a fragmented picture of long-term thinking can emerge, increasing the risk that expected results will not be reached.

Leaders are dependent on supporting systems and structures when practising long-term thinking, but they are also responsible for building and developing them. To develop systems and structures to support long-term thinking, leaders need deep knowledge of the concept and to act accordingly. Systems and structures do not develop themselves, and leaders need to act to make long-term thinking visible and in so doing awaken it in organisations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University , 2022. , p. 144
Series
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 379
Keywords [en]
Long-term thinking, future, quality management, sustainable development, leader, leadership, culture
National Category
Reliability and Maintenance
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-46435ISBN: 978-91-89341-81-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-46435DiVA, id: diva2:1710993
Public defence
2022-12-16, Q221, Akademigatan 1, 831 40 Östersund, Östersund, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)Mid Sweden University
Note

Vid tidpunkten för disputationen var följande delarbete opublicerat: delarbete 6 inskickat.

At the time of the doctoral defence the following paper was unpublished: paper 6 submitted.

Available from: 2022-11-15 Created: 2022-11-15 Last updated: 2023-08-28Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Managers basic assumptions when applying Lean
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Managers basic assumptions when applying Lean
2013 (English)In: 16th QMOD-ICQSS Proceedings: Quality Management and Organizational Development Conference [being] International Conference Quality and Service Sciences / [ed] Su Mi Dahlgaard-Park, Jens J. Dahlgaard, Boštjan Gomišček, 2013, p. 1206-1215Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present the result from a case study were managers where interviewed in order to find out their basic assumptions (i.e. purpose and underlying values) for applying Lean. The purpose is also to investigate if these basic assumptions are in line with what the literature describes as important for succeeding when applying Lean.

 

Methodology/approach – Interviews based on an interview guide with open questions were carried out with managers in an organization.

Findings – The study showed that the reason given for applying Lean are different between a manager that has started to apply Lean and a manager that has not yet started to apply Lean in their organization and that it is a difference between their basic assumptions.

 

Originality/Value – The paper indicates the importance of knowing the managers’ values when applying Lean and the importance to educate managers’ to get a deeper understanding of Lean.

Paper type Case study

Keywords
Lean, Quality Management, leadership, value, implementation
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-23388 (URN)978-961-232-269-4 (ISBN)
Conference
16th Quality Management and Organizational Development Conference, Portorož, 2013
Available from: 2014-11-07 Created: 2014-11-07 Last updated: 2022-11-15Bibliographically approved
2. Can Lean values contribute to Sustainable Development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Can Lean values contribute to Sustainable Development
2014 (English)In: 17th Qmod-ICQSS: Part 2: INDEX and FULLPAPERS / [ed] Su Mi Dahlgaard-Park, Jens Jörn Dahlgaard, 2014Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The aim of this paper was to study interactions between Sustainable Development and Lean values by comparing two organizations, one with Technical Communication in-house and one with Technical Communication partly outsourced.

Methodology/approach – A literature study with focus on Lean and Sustainable Development values was carried out. Interviews with companies that provide Technical Communication have been conducted to identify Lean categories. The identified categories have been compared to the findings in Lean and Sustainable Development values.

Findings – The literature study and our results indicate that presence of Lean values support Sustainable Development, but it requires that organizations focus on the culture and values. The result indicates that if Technical Communication has a low status the company put low value on Sustainable Development. If Technical Communication is produced in-house customer involvement might be easier to achieve.

Practical implications – The identification of Lean values can be a starting point for organizations to work with Sustainable Development as it helps the organizations to focus on significant areas.

Paper type – Case study

Keywords
Sustainable Development, Lean, Quality Management, Values, Technical Communication
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-23274 (URN)978-91-7623-086-2 (ISBN)
Conference
Qmod 2014
Projects
KATI, Kundanpassade teknikinformation
Available from: 2014-10-22 Created: 2014-10-21 Last updated: 2022-11-15Bibliographically approved
3. Interlinking Lean and Sustainability: How ready are leaders?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Interlinking Lean and Sustainability: How ready are leaders?
2019 (English)In: The TQM Journal, ISSN 1754-2731, E-ISSN 1754-274X, Vol. 31, no 2, p. 136-149Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore evidence of interlinkages between Lean and sustainability among organisational leaders in the early stages of Lean implementation.

Design/methodology: A multiple-site case study was conducted to study the connections between Lean and sustainable development during the implementation stages of a Lean practice. In-depth interviews were conducted with managers about their knowledge and understanding of the interlinkages between Lean and sustainable development. The findings were then used as an analytic frame to determine whether these interlinkages were present in the organisation.

Findings: Evidence of interlinkages between Lean and sustainable development was found; however, their presence was incomplete and inconsistent across clinics.

Research implications: Insights from the research can help organisations plan for the implementation of Lean practice, particularly when a sub-goal is to achieve sustainable development.

Originality/value: The study shows the importance of focusing on managers’ knowledge and understanding of the interlinkages between Lean and sustainable development when implementing Lean in order to utilise Leans full potential to achieve sustainability.

Keywords
Organisational development, Lean, sustainability, operational management
National Category
Reliability and Maintenance
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-32047 (URN)10.1108/TQM-04-2018-0046 (DOI)2-s2.0-85058112136 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-11-13 Created: 2017-11-13 Last updated: 2022-11-15Bibliographically approved
4. Co-creation as a success factor in the development of constructive customer-focused dialogues
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Co-creation as a success factor in the development of constructive customer-focused dialogues
2020 (English)In: Quality Innovation Prosperity, ISSN 1335-1745, E-ISSN 1338-984X, Vol. 24, no 2, p. 153-169Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to describe the process of co-creating a dialogue model that aims to increase citizen value in a municipality organisation. In addition, the purpose is to present the results from the development process and to evaluate the chosen dialogue model. Methodology/Approach: A dialogue model was developed through a co-creation process with a series of workshops, discussions and interactive tasks. The whole process was carried out in three steps. In the first step, the success factors of a constructive dialogue based on citizen value were identified. In the second step, several dialogue models were developed, tested and evaluated, and one dialogue model was chosen. In the third step, the chosen dialogue model was evaluated. Findings: An evaluation of a real-life use of the dialogue model supports the finding that the process delivers a dialogue model that enables the required prerequisites for constructive dialogues: for example, the opportunity to prepare, to create structured and transparent documentation, and to enable a holistic view of the dialogue model. A co-creation that involved co-workers contributed to developing a dialogue model that could be adapted to the co-workers’ own context. Research Limitation/implication: This study is conducted in a single organization, hence no generalizable conclusions can be made. Originality/Value of paper: Using a co-creative process when developing and realising a dialogue model enhances the possibility of adapting the model to an organisation’s specific context. Category: Case study. 

Keywords
A3, Co-creation, Customer focus, Dialogue model, Holistic view
National Category
Reliability and Maintenance
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-39609 (URN)10.12776/QIP.V24I2.1442 (DOI)000557033500010 ()2-s2.0-85089002218 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2020-08-17 Created: 2020-08-17 Last updated: 2022-11-15Bibliographically approved
5. Developing organizational systems that link quality managment and sustainability: moving from theory to practice
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Developing organizational systems that link quality managment and sustainability: moving from theory to practice
2022 (English)In: Proceedings M2D2022: 9th International Conference on Mechanics and Materials in Design / [ed] J.F. Silva Gomes & Shaker A. Meguid, 2022, p. 935-956, article id 18215Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this paper, the concept of long-term thinking is examined in the context of education to gaindeeper insights into how leaders can integrate and interlink quality management practices withsustainability. The school as a case is chosen because of the built-in mandate to developpractices centered on long-term thinking through the preparation of future generations. Thepurpose of this paper is to present findings from a qualitative case study that examine thepresence of a systems approach to organizing that integrate quality management andsustainability. In particular we are interested in examining more closely how long-term thinkingis applied in the case site and the ways in which it permeates the system of leading andcontinuous development. Long-term thinking is a key variable in the mind-shift necessary tosustain quality in the 21st century, yet many studies suggest that it is often lacking.

Keywords
Quality management, Sustainable development, long-term thinking, education
National Category
Reliability and Maintenance
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-45969 (URN)978-989-54756-3-6 (ISBN)
Conference
9th International Conference, Mechanics and Materials in Design M2D2022, Funchal, Portugal, June 26-30, 2022
Available from: 2022-09-05 Created: 2022-09-05 Last updated: 2022-11-15Bibliographically approved
6. Understanding long-term thinking as a management strategy to support sustainable quality development: Perspectives from education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Understanding long-term thinking as a management strategy to support sustainable quality development: Perspectives from education
2023 (English)In: The TQM Journal, ISSN 1754-2731, E-ISSN 1754-274X, Vol. 35, no 9, p. 352-368Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore the concept of long-term thinking in a non-business context to gain deeper insights into bridging the gap between the theory of long-term thinking and its application as a management strategy.

Design/methodology/approach

To explore the concept of long-thinking further in a non-business setting, a grounded theory study was conducted with preschool leaders in a municipality in Sweden to examine how the leaders describe, define and apply the concept of long-term thinking in their schools. Interviews with school leaders, both written and oral, were used for data collection.

Findings

This study illustrates that the concept of long-term thinking can be twofold. First, the description can be as an anchor that reflects a mission. Second, the description can be a steering mechanism that guides decision-making. The findings also reinforce the importance of organisations developing an organisational culture that connect their vision and goals with the values and needs of their customers.

Research limitations/implications

This study was carried out in a single organisation and shows a snapshot of the organisation's status at the time the data were collected. Therefore, the findings are not generalisable to all organisational settings; rather the findings may be transferable to other settings.

Practical implications

The results can be used to help identify areas where preschools in a municipal context can engage with sustainable quality development in order to build systems that support work with quality in a more structured way.

Originality/value

Long-term thinking is seen, within both theory and organisations, as necessary to achieve success in terms of sustainable development and quality, and this study contributes with knowledge about the current gap between theories of long-term thinking and practice in organisations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2023
Keywords
Long-term thinking, preschool, quality, sustainability, management, leadership
National Category
Reliability and Maintenance
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-46433 (URN)10.1108/TQM-03-2023-0072 (DOI)001053751800001 ()2-s2.0-85169162980 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2022-11-15 Created: 2022-11-15 Last updated: 2023-09-18Bibliographically approved

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Mårtensson, Anna

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