Improving lean team performance: leadership and workfloor dynamics

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UTAcademic

Abstract

This Ph.D. thesis reports four different studies that were undertaken to identify and examine the content of human dynamics that may account for sustainable lean team performance, at multiple organizational levels: higher-level leaders (including top- and middle managers), team leaders, and team members. The thesis emphasizes human work values and behaviors, also because an Organizational Behavior focus was called for in the advancement of lean Operations Management, and work values are seen as important underlying determinants of (lean) work behavior. While effective lean teams are often regarded as self-managed work teams, we found that top or higher-level managers play key roles in training and developing lean team members and their leaders. Managers showcase their desired behavioral patterns to their followers by exemplary role modeling relations-oriented behavior, and airing their self-transcendence and openness-to-change type values. In this way, higher-leader behavior is cascaded to the lowest organizational level, so that each workfloor member is focused on and committed to achieving optimal customer value through continuous process improvement. Also higher-level managers’ guidance and clarity in terms of organizational strategy and structure, as well as aligned investment in lean and people development, is shown to facilitate lean team performance. In other words, despite frequent calls to simply “scrap” middle management, a remark often heard on workfloors during initial attempts to implement lean, if such managers are good at translating organizational strategy to their (lean) teams, they will not become obsolete. These insights may guide managers who envision a lean transformation on their workfloors. Also those who advise lean teams and their leaders may direct their interventions more at leader-behavioral development, instead of merely “rolling out” a predetermined set of lean tools such as Value Stream Mapping, 5S, or Kanban. Such leader coaching could take place on the basis of mapping personal-value constellations (e.g., through a card sorting technique used in chapter II of the dissertation) and subsequent reflecting upon how their own values influence their own behaviors. Furthermore, those who select, train, and promote leaders may feel the need to enrich their leader profiles with the values and behaviors reported in the dissertation.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Wilderom, Celeste P.M., Supervisor
Award date11 Dec 2015
Place of PublicationEnschede
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-90-365-4000-1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2015

Fingerprint

Team performance
Managers
Organizational strategy
Work values
Work behavior
Organizational level
Middle managers
Guidance
Self-managed work teams
Value stream mapping
Team leaders
Kanban
Scrap
Customer value
Openness
Train
Organizational behaviour
Coaching
Operations management
Middle management

Keywords

  • IR-98337
  • METIS-313458

Cite this

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title = "Improving lean team performance: leadership and workfloor dynamics",
abstract = "This Ph.D. thesis reports four different studies that were undertaken to identify and examine the content of human dynamics that may account for sustainable lean team performance, at multiple organizational levels: higher-level leaders (including top- and middle managers), team leaders, and team members. The thesis emphasizes human work values and behaviors, also because an Organizational Behavior focus was called for in the advancement of lean Operations Management, and work values are seen as important underlying determinants of (lean) work behavior. While effective lean teams are often regarded as self-managed work teams, we found that top or higher-level managers play key roles in training and developing lean team members and their leaders. Managers showcase their desired behavioral patterns to their followers by exemplary role modeling relations-oriented behavior, and airing their self-transcendence and openness-to-change type values. In this way, higher-leader behavior is cascaded to the lowest organizational level, so that each workfloor member is focused on and committed to achieving optimal customer value through continuous process improvement. Also higher-level managers’ guidance and clarity in terms of organizational strategy and structure, as well as aligned investment in lean and people development, is shown to facilitate lean team performance. In other words, despite frequent calls to simply “scrap” middle management, a remark often heard on workfloors during initial attempts to implement lean, if such managers are good at translating organizational strategy to their (lean) teams, they will not become obsolete. These insights may guide managers who envision a lean transformation on their workfloors. Also those who advise lean teams and their leaders may direct their interventions more at leader-behavioral development, instead of merely “rolling out” a predetermined set of lean tools such as Value Stream Mapping, 5S, or Kanban. Such leader coaching could take place on the basis of mapping personal-value constellations (e.g., through a card sorting technique used in chapter II of the dissertation) and subsequent reflecting upon how their own values influence their own behaviors. Furthermore, those who select, train, and promote leaders may feel the need to enrich their leader profiles with the values and behaviors reported in the dissertation.",
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Improving lean team performance: leadership and workfloor dynamics. / van Dun, Desirée Hermina.

Enschede : Universiteit Twente, 2015. 224 p.

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UTAcademic

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