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Rethinking lean supplier development as a learning system

Rethinking lean supplier development as a learning system

Category
Academic article
Abstract
Purpose
This paper investigates developing a learning-to-learn capability as a critical success factor for sustainable lean transformation.

Design/methodology/approach
This research design is guided by our research question: how can suppliers learn to learn as part of a buyer-led collaborative lean transformation? The authors adopt action learning research to generate actionable knowledge from a lean supplier development initiative over a three-year period.

Findings
Drawing on emergent insights from the initiative, the authors find that developing a learning-to-learn capability is a core and critical success factor for lean transformation. The authors also find that network action learning has a significant enabling role in buyer-led collaborative lean transformations.

Originality/value
The authors contribute to lean theory and practice by making the distinction between learning about and implementing lean best practices and adopting a learning-to-learn perspective to build organisational capabilities, consistent with lean thinking and practice. Further, the authors contribute to methodology, adopting action learning research to explore learning-to-learn as a critical success factor for sustainable lean transformation.
Client
  • Research Council of Norway (RCN) / 237900
Language
English
Author(s)
Affiliation
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • SINTEF Manufacturing
  • The University of Dublin, Trinity College
Year
Published in
International Journal of Operations & Production Management
ISSN
0144-3577
Publisher
Emerald Group Publishing Limited