Four archetypes of process improvement: a Q-methodological study
Maull, Roger S.
International Journal of Production Research
Taylor & Francis
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This paper explores the process improvement approaches of organisations. It seeks to identify process redesign principles and the combinations of these principles that are used successfully in industry. We use Q-methodology to explore the viewpoints of a range of highly-experienced process experts about the success of 16 improvement practices. Q-methodology enables the examination of the similarities and differences in the success of the improvement principles used by organisations in order to inform archetypes of process improvement. Overall, our findings suggest that process improvement is determined through the application of two foundational principles combined with one of four archetypes. ‘Remove non-value-adding tasks’ and ‘re-sequence tasks’ are described as foundational principles of process improvement, whilst outsourcing needs to be approached with caution. Furthermore, we articulate four distinctive archetypes comprising unique configurations of improvement principles that can be used to redesign operational processes. Based on this evidence we propose a typology of process improvement. This work suggests that rather than adopting generic improvement frameworks, managers should consult the typology to determine the archetype in closest proximity to their specific requirements. This study has several limitations including the small number of items populating the concourse and the fact that implementation problems are not taken into account.
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in International Journal of Production Research on 11/07/2014, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00207543.2013.867086
Vol. 52, Issue 15, pp. 4507 - 4525