Forces affecting one Lean Six Sigma adoption process
Journal article, 2014

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to identify forces (in the form of converters and inhibitors) of Lean Six Sigma adoption by studying the gradual adoption of Lean Six Sigma in a medium-sized Swedish manufacturing company. The paper suggests how the converters and inhibitors interact toward increased maturity of the adoption and, in this case, stagnation thereof. Design/methodology/approach Thirteen interviews were recorded and analyzed to identify converters that were moving the process forward or backward, as well as inhibitors that caused it to linger. Findings It was discovered that activities that had initially moved the process forward were not sufficient to move it beyond its current point. However, an increased knowledge of Lean Six Sigma throughout the organization now prevents the process from moving in the opposite direction. In this medium-sized Swedish manufacturing company, Lean Six Sigma becomes a framework for thought and communication during Lean work. Research limitations/implications The study benefited from considering forces pushing the process forward as well as backward. Thus, we suggest that future studies will benefit from focusing beyond critical success factors (CSFs) that may at times be static in nature. As a limitation, for discussions about the past, the memories of interviewees generally may have a tendency to be biased. Originality/value The paper contributes knowledge of Lean Six Sigma adoptions and how they may attain greater future success by reporting on difficulties and setbacks in the current gradual adoption process in a chosen company.


adoption process

small and medium-sized enterprises

continuous improvements

Lean Six Sigma


Marcus Assarlind

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Quality Sciences

Lise Aaboen

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

International Journal of Lean Six Sigma

20404166 (ISSN) 20404174 (eISSN)

Vol. 5 3 324-340

Subject Categories

Other Mechanical Engineering

Areas of Advance


Driving Forces

Innovation and entrepreneurship



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