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Lean on me: An impact study of mutuality supportive leadership behaviour on employee Lean engagement

LESLIE, IAN (2015) Lean on me: An impact study of mutuality supportive leadership behaviour on employee Lean engagement. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Total Quality Management (TQM) has been around in the West since the early 1970s.
Over the last 40 years it has advanced from its early form, based around ‘quality
circles’, to more advanced forms such as Lean and the now common Business
Excellence (BE) models. However, up to 60% of implementations fail to deliver initially
anticipated results. Research into Lean/TQM suggests that management commitment
and conducive culture are key factors inhibiting subordinate engagement. Yet it is
recognised that the ‘softer’ side of TQM is vital for its success and a key dimension of
Lean/TQM philosophy. This thesis is a longitudinal study of an organisation in the
throes of implementing Lean and struggling to engage its employees.

Taking a mutuality perspective, the Behavioural Perspective Model (BPM) provides a
framework for understanding the manager-subordinate context and Lean engagement.
The BPM, complemented by the incorporation of Deci and Ryan’s Self-Determination
Theory (SDT), aids understanding of respondents’ learning history in a complex
Lean/TQM environment. An objective of this research was to use the insight gained
from taking a behavioural/SDT perspective to improve the ‘softer’, respectful side of
TQM deployment as in managerial relational practice, thus enabling improvement in
leader-subordinate, day-to-day relations and increased Lean approach behaviour.

The thesis is built around three interrelated projects. Project One investigates the
deployment context, identifying engagement barriers and opportunities. Project Two, a
longitudinal intervention based on mutuality supportive leader-subordinate behaviour,
identifies positive affect across three surveys. Project Three, a survey-based study of
the whole organisation (n=328), considers both ‘active’ and ‘not-active’ employees,
finding significant differences in all key variables between the two groups, identifying
‘work climate’ and motivation as key influences on Lean engagement. This research
provides tentative evidence that managerial commitment to a supportive work climate
influences subordinate engagement and quality of engagement in Lean/TQM.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Business Administration
Keywords:Lean TQM 'Respect for people' Mutuality
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Economics, Finance and Business, School of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:19 Mar 2015 15:43

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