Implementation of continuous improvement cells: a case study from the civil infrastructure sector in the UK

Algan Tezel, Lauri Koskela, Patricia Tzortzopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The interest in lean management in the UK’s civil infrastructure sector is on the rise. In parallel with this interest, a team-based, participative management technique called Continuous Improvement (CI) cells has been widely adopted by the sector. The research on the technique has been scarce even though it has been adopted widely in some sectors as part of lean management. The study presented in the paper explores implementation characteristics, benefits, challenges and roles of CI cells in other management strategies through a case study conducted at a large public client organisation in the infrastructure sector in the UK. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected through interviews, participant observation at CI cell meetings, and from organisational and team records. It was found that CI cells show some similarities and differences in application with other participative management techniques in lean management. A large set of CI cell benefits and challenges were identified. CI cells were also found linked with Visual Management, kaizen, hoshin kanri, work coordination and planning, and employee training at team level.
Original languageEnglish
JournalProduction Planning and Control
Early online date16 Feb 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright: 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon
in any way.


  • Lean management
  • continuous improvement
  • work planning
  • participative management
  • CI cells


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