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Title: Is lean service promising? A socio-technical perspective
Authors: Hadid, W
Mansouri, SA
Gallear, D
Keywords: Lean service technical practices;Lean service social practices;Socio-technical systems theory;Firm performance;Partial least squares (PLS-SEM)
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Emerald
Citation: International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 36(6), pp. 618-642, (2016)
Abstract: Purpose – This research paper contributes to the ongoing debate about the effectiveness of lean practices in the service sector. Design/methodology/approach – This paper combines objective and subjective empirical data from a relatively large number of UK, medium and large, for-profit service firms and examines six hypotheses relating to the impact of lean service on firm operational and financial performance. Exploratory factor analysis is used to reduce the data and identify the underlying dimensions of lean service, and partial least squares structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM) is used for testing the developed model. Findings – The results indicate that the social bundles of the lean service had an independent positive impact on firm operational and financial performance. In addition, while the technical bundles had an independent positive effect on only the operational performance, they were found to interact with the social bundles to improve both the operational and financial performance. Therefore, the findings suggest that service managers must follow a systematic approach when implementing lean service practices and must avoid focusing on one side of the system at the expense of the other. Practical implications – The paper highlights the importance of implementing lean service as a socio-technical system if service firms are to achieve the best possible benefits from their implementation. The motivation factor (social side) and the customer value factor (technical side) are capable of improving all operational performance dimensions examined in this study along with profit margin even if implemented alone. Therefore, service managers with limited resources and who wish to implement lean service are encouraged to start with practices within these factors. However, they can also expect improved operational and financial performance from implementing other factors as they positively interact to further improve performance. Originality/value – This paper highlights the importance of viewing lean service as a socio-technical system. It incorporates a larger set of lean practices than previous studies and proves empirically their capability of improving both the operational and financial performance of service firms. Therefore, it contributes significantly to the emerging literature on lean service by highlighting and empirically testing the mechanism through which lean service affects the performance of adopting firms.
ISSN: 0144-3577
Appears in Collections:Brunel Business School Research Papers

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