The applicability of lean six sigma in developing economies
: exploratory research on manufacturing environments

  • Oviri Umude-Igbru

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Substantial literature has established the role of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) as a successful methodology for continuous improvement. Particularly in manufacturing environments, the synergetic approach between the individual techniques of Lean Production and Six Sigma has created an avenue for change in implementing organizations. However there exists a gap, as studies and implementation cases on the LSS subject are predominantly drawn from developed environments. Working culture and regional norms can affect the application of these techniques.This research adopts a multiple case study approach to assess the applicability of the LSS initiative, providing a comparative overview of cases in manufacturing environments of developing and developed countries. Using Nigeria as the main unit of analysis for developing countries, athree-stage data collection process was employed for the realisation of the overall aim of developing an implementation framework suitable for organizations in this clime.As the adopted research approach allows the researcher to be embedded in the implementation process of the case organizations, the need for a holistic approach for learning organizations’ implementation of LSS cannot be overemphasized. The findings of the study uncovered the role of the documented Critical Success Factors (CSFs) for LSS implementation and their effect on failing organizational implementation of LSS. This study is among the very few that examines the interaction of the CSFs as they affect the overall implementation of the initiative, particularly for organizations in developing countries.Based on the findings from the literature and the multiple-staged research process, this doctoral research presents an implementation framework for Lean Six Sigma, which provides a three phase approach to the applicability of the initiative. The framework takes into cognizance the needs of learning organizations and provides a structured and practical approach to implementation, based on the identified CSFs. A Delphi study, employing expert views, was used to validate the proposed implementation framework.
Date of Award2017
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorBrian Price (Supervisor)


  • Nigeria
  • developing countries
  • critical success factors
  • CSF's
  • lean six sigma

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