An analytical hierarchy process-based tool to evaluate value systems for lean transformations

Fazleena Badurdeen, Ken Wijekoon, Phillip Marksberry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Purpose - True lean transformation has proved notoriously difficult for non-Toyota companies. One hypothesis is excessive focus on tools/techniques without building the necessary organizational culture. However, empirical evidence is not available to confirm (or refute) this hypothesis. The complex question of the relationship between an organization's culture and its ability to implement lean is a long-term effort. As a first step, the purpose of this paper is to offer the results of a survey conducted to discover the relative (in)consistency of lean cultures in terms of values held explicitly.

Design/methodology/approach - A survey tool was developed to compare what employees of lean (or attempting to be lean) organizations say explicitly about what their culture values. The Toyota Way, considered by Toyota as guiding its values, was used as the basis to develop the survey which was administered to individuals in several different organizations.

Findings - A higher degree of lean implementation in a company was assumed to show more consistent organizational values (in explicit form). However, the responses varied even from the company considered a leader in lean implementation. Though not conclusive, these preliminary findings suggest that the relationship between cultural type, explicit values and successful lean practice should be examined further.

Originality/value - No empirical studies have investigated the role of culture in success with lean transformations. This paper presents an initial attempt at addressing that issue with a tool developed to evaluate what an organization's culture says its values are, in terms of what is important for lean implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-65
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Manufacturing Technology Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 31 2011

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


  • Analytical hierarchy process
  • Automotive industry
  • Employee attitudes
  • Lean production
  • Organizational culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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