Critical success factors for implementing continuous improvement approaches within public sector organisations

Michele Cano, Evdoxia Viza, Athanassios Kourouklis

Abstract


Purpose. This paper examines the critical success factors (CSFs) for implementing continuous improvement (CI) approaches such as lean management within the public sector.

Methodology. Sixteen in-depth interviews were carried out with practitioners of continuous improvement across a range of public sector organisations to identify the main issues and critical success factors of initiatives such as lean management (LM), six sigma (SS) and total quality management (TQM).

Findings. The critical success factors are presented under three main themes: leadership, staff buy-in and operations. Consistent with literature, the findings show that leadership commitment is the most critical factor however, within public sector organisations, hands-on leadership and leadership understanding of the initiative is also a critical success factor. Additionally findings also demonstrate that while employee buy-in is also key to the success of any initiative, is closely related to the drivers of the initiative i.e. cost versus value, and the importance of negotiation and dialogue at the employee buy-in stage especially for public sector organisations.

Practical implications. This research provides public sector practitioners of CI with a framework indicating how the CSFs which need to be considered in any implementation effort are inter-related.

Originality/value. This paper also contributions to practice and knowledge as it expands current thinking on critical success factors for implementation of CI in public sector organisations.

Keywords


continuous improvement; critical success factors; public sector

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References


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