Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Business and Economics


Marketing and Supply Chain

First Advisor

Dr. Clyde Holsapple

Second Advisor

Dr. Thomas J. Goldsby


To remain competitive in a global market, many organizations are transforming their operations from traditional management approaches to the lean philosophy. The success of the Toyota Production System in the automotive industry serves as a benchmark that organizations continually seek to emulate in search of similar results. Despite the abundance of lean resources, many organizations struggle to attain successful lean transformation. To facilitate investigation of the failure mechanisms and critical success factors of lean transformation, this dissertation addresses the following research questions: (1) Why do transformations from traditional organizational philosophies to lean fail? (2) What are the critical factors for lean transformation success? (3) What is the role of an organization’s human resource performance management system during the lean transformation journey?

This dissertation utilizes a multi-method, multi-essay format to examine the research questions. First, managers from organizations in various stages of lean transformation are interviewed to establish a foundational research framework. Subsequently, a theoretical model is empirically tested based on data gathered from a survey of industry professionals with expertise in lean transformation. Data analysis techniques employed for this dissertation include: Partial Least Squares (PLS) regression, case descriptions, and case comparisons.

Very few studies of lean transformation investigate behavioral influences and antecedents. This dissertation contributes to practitioners and researchers by offering a refined understanding of the role that human resource performance management can play in the overall lean transformation process. In an effort to characterize organizational outcomes resulting from lean transformation, this research introduces a new construct, Lean Transformation Success, to the literature.