Kaizen event process factors for operational performance improvement: an archival study

Jose Franken*, Desirée H. van Dun, Celeste P.M. Wilderom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Organisations practicing lean effectively show operational performance improvement through various tools, including Kaizen Events. Evidence of how measurable operational performance improvement relates to specific Kaizen Event process factors is lacking though. Building upon three organisational behaviour theories, and using the six phase-based process characteristics of Kaizen Events, we first distilled nine factors that might relate to operational performance improvement. We analysed archival documentation of 79 Kaizen Events. Four Kaizen Event factors, typically applied in specific Kaizen Event phases, were significantly related to operational performance improvement: 1) in phase one, problem definition, the group is committed to solve the problem and 2) a problem indicator must be specified; 3) in phase three, idea generation, countermeasures must be quantified in relation to the problem indicator; and 4) in phase five, implementation, the line manager champions idea implementation. A conceptual model is presented to eventually obtain even more effective Kaizen Events in the future.

Original languageEnglish
JournalProduction Planning and Control
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 17 May 2024


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