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Six sigma: from a goal-theoretic perspective to shared-vision development

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to extend understanding of the success of the six sigma quality management initiative by investigating the effects of six sigma teamwork and statistical process control (SPC) on organizational-shared vision. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The information used comes from a larger study, the data for which were collected from a random sample of 237 European firms. Of these 237 organizations, 58 have implemented six sigma. Structural equation modelling (SEM) was used to test the hypotheses. Findings ‐ The main findings show that six sigma teamwork and SPC positively affect the development of organizational-shared vision. A positive but not significant influence is also observed between shared vision and organizational performance. Research limitations/implications ‐ Positive effects found in this study should be investigated further employing a larger sample of six sigma firms and including other variables such as organizational learning. Further, the effects of these variables on performance should be measured with real results from firms to test possible direct and indirect influence on performance. Practical implications ‐ The findings of this study offer a justification of six sigma implementation in firms. This study provides the authors with an in-depth understanding of some structural elements that characterize the six sigma methodology, enabling the authors to provide an explanation for its success. Originality/value ‐ There is little empirical research on the positive effects of six sigma implementation and even less that explains the success of six sigma initiatives. This paper contributes to filling this gap. It also contributes to emerging literature on how the development of shared vision affects organizational performance.
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Keywords: Organizational performance; Six sigma; Statistical process control; Team working

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 6, 2009

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