Lean – the management consultant’s paradox

Research Briefing

Keywords: lean, lean thinking, management consulting, change management, lean implementation, learning, learning culture, organisational development

The concept of lean has grown from an operational set of tools to reduce waste and increase value into a complete management philosophy of excellence, that involves a range of other ‘soft’ factors, such as leadership, management, learning and engagement. Additionally, lean has spread from manufacturing into other areas such as services, health, aviation etc.

During the evolution and growth of lean and lean principles, factors such as organisational learning and knowledge management have come to the fore. This developing notion of lean focuses very much on employee engagement and participation in the development of a learning culture, in which the employee has ’voice’ and empowerment and, in essence, drives the learning and organisational development agenda and process.

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