Levels in the evolution of continuous improvement: A multiple case study

Juan A. Marin-Garcia, Yolanda Bautista-Poveda, Julio J. Garcia-Sabater


Purpose: The evolution model of continuous improvement is at an intermediate stage of development. Previous research had been raised and validated levels and behaviors of continuous improvement. However, there is no clear relationship between levels, routines in terms of group of behaviours, and enablers. We propose a differentiated conceptual definition for facilitators and for the behaviors. We have also collected and summarized a list of enablers that support the development of continuous improvement. In addition, we propose a model of when and how to activate the enablers and the impact of these enablers to go forward at different stages of evolution of the continuous improvement.

Design/methodology/approach: Qualitative Multicase study with 4 midsize businesses with financial resources and leaders in their industries.

Findings and Originality/value: Presents a relationship between facilitators, phases of evolution and its associated behaviors and demonstrates that the evolution of the implementation of continuous improvement is not a continuous incremental, but there is a point of discontinuity between stages 3 and 4 , which requires a radical change in the implementation process.

Originality/value: extend the model of Bessant et al. (2001) explaining how to advance the implementation to higher levels of continuous improvement through the activation of appropriate facilitators. It also presents examples of applications that can be very illustrative for production managers. Also raises an activation sequence of facilitators for guiding the manager in making decisions related to the implementation and deployment of continuous improvement in their companies.


Continuous improvement; enablers; behaviors; case-study; evolution model

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3926/ic.425

Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Intangible Capital, 2004-2021

Online ISSN: 1697-9818; Print ISSN: 2014-3214; DL: B-33375-2004

Publisher: OmniaScience