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Meaning, perceptions and use of lean - New Zealand perspective

Thornton, K, Nath, N, Hu, Y and Jia, J ORCID: 0000-0002-5193-8475 2019 , 'Meaning, perceptions and use of lean - New Zealand perspective' , Pacific Accounting Review, vol. 31, no. 4 , pp. 711-730 , doi:

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Purpose: This study aims to explore how lean and lean dimensions are perceived by senior managers inNew Zealand (NZ). The authors use Searcy’s (2004) framework to establish how lean performance dimensionsdiffer in importance in terms of sector, size and users of lean, thus, revealing the motivations and benefits oflean from the view of lean organisations.Design/methodology/approach: Data were primarily sourced using an online survey tool. A thematicapproach was used to establish an understanding of lean by NZ senior managers. An analytical hierarchyprocess model was used to determine if the relative importance of the lean performance dimensions is perceiveddifferently between manufacturing and service organisations, large firms and small- and medium-sizedenterprises and adopters and non-adopters of lean. The results are informed by Searcy’s (2004) framework.Findings: The study reveals efficiency, elimination of waste, cost reduction and meeting customerdemands based on secondary sources, to be the current prevalent dimensions of lean in NZ. Managers are yetto realise the importance of customer value and product quality, and the former is at the heart of thesuccessful diffusion of lean dimensions. Customer value is beyond satisfying customer demands and needs;the focus is on how the authors can understand the customers.Research limitations/implications: The sample size limits the generalisability of the results.Practical implications – The study suggests that practitioners, including managers, need to incorporatecustomer demand and satisfaction into their lean performance dimensions to improve effectiveness. Thisgroup of actors should be instrumental in taking the lean philosophy, tools and techniques to NZ firms byhosting in-house training and seminars at regional and national levels. Furthermore, academics shouldincorporate lean studies as a programme/course in their respective tertiary institutions so that graduates cantake this phenomenon to their workplace.Originality/value: This study contributes to the understanding of lean within a NZ business context andprovides evidence that NZ corporate managers need to incorporate customer value and product qualityaspects when adopting lean.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Thornton, K and Nath, N and Hu, Y and Jia, J
Keywords: Lean, AHP, lean performance dimensions
Journal or Publication Title: Pacific Accounting Review
Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN: 0114-0582
DOI / ID Number:
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 Emerald Publishing Limited

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