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Lean management and occupational health: team learning as a key factor

Abstract : Purpose Liker (2003) asserts that continuous improvement's goal is to favour organisational learning (OL), the latter being one of the key principles of lean management (LM). Yet, OL may result in better occupational health (Panari et al., 2010). The purpose of this paper is to consider Liker's assertion seriously and to study the relations between LM, team learning (TL) and occupational health. Design/methodology/approach For this purpose, the authors compared 22 teams in nine case studies. A mixed methodology approach called qualitative comparative analysis (Ragin, 1987) was used to test the hypothesis that TL plays a key role in preserving occupational health in LM implementations, leading to improved performance that is not at the expense of workers' health. Findings The central hypothesis questioned was that complete LM when resulting in a TL dynamic (i.e. systemic lean), would enable both increases in industrial performance and maintain or improve occupational health. The data tend to validate this hypothesis. Originality/value This research may enrich three types of research literature that hardly know each other, namely, LM literature (production research), occupational health literature and OL literature. For professionals concerned with the social dimension of modern production, this research shows that there is a path for a mutual gain perspective in LM, but this is a demanding process with many conditions to satisfy.
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Contributor : Laurent Jonchère <>
Submitted on : Monday, May 4, 2020 - 3:59:59 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 14, 2021 - 1:19:22 PM



Arnaud Stimec. Lean management and occupational health: team learning as a key factor. Journal of Workplace Learning, Emerald, 2020, 32 (5), pp.363-375. ⟨10.1108/JWL-08-2019-0104⟩. ⟨hal-02562405⟩



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