Management directed kaizen: Toyota's Jishuken process for management development

Phillip Marksberry, Fazleena Badurdeen, Bob Gregory, Ken Kreafle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to analyze Toyota's management directed kaizen activities named Jishuken. Currently, there are many variations in understanding how Toyota develops its managers to support daily kaizen, especially when Toyota managers have different levels of understanding of Toyota production system (TPS) and skills essential in applying TPS. Design/methodology/approach - This paper will study Toyota's Jishuken process in the context of strengthening TPS and analyze both the technical and management aspects of Toyota's Jishuken process. Findings - When integrated into plant-wide long-term continuous improvement, Jishukens can be extremely effective at developing management's ability to conduct and to teach others to conduct daily kaizen and problem solving. This paper shows how Jishukens function within the TPS system to continuously improve managers' understanding of TPS both for their own concrete problemsolving and to support manager's roles in communicating, coaching and teaching problem solving to production workers. Originality/value - Most attempts to imitate Toyota fail because techniques are adopted piecemeal with little understanding of why they exist or what kind of organizational culture is needed to keep them alive. Jishuken serves as an example of a technique which is successful only when embedded within the right organizational culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)670-686
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Manufacturing Technology Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2010


  • Continuous improvement
  • Lean production
  • Management development
  • Manufacturing systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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