Lean Six Sigma maturity model within Saudi Arabian organisations : an empirical study
Albliwi, Saja Ahmed
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Lean Six Sigma (LSS) is a continuous improvement methodology that aims to reduce the costs of poor quality, improve the bottom-line results and create value for both customers and shareholders. LSS has been deployed in organisations in the Western countries for more than two decades. However, its implementation in Middle Eastern countries has only just begun to emerge. Furthermore, there is a lack of empirical studies in the area of understanding the current status of LSS in these countries. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to investigate the current status of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) in Saudi Arabian organisations and subsequently develop a Lean Six Sigma Maturity Model (LSSMM) which can be used to assess their current level of LSS maturity. The study is based on a systematic literature review of 45 papers that were published on LSS in high ranking journals in the field and other specialist journals, from 2000 to 2015. LSS themes identified include: LSS benefits, critical success factors, motivational factors, tools and techniques, critical failure factors, and limitations. A descriptive survey via a questionnaire was conducted in the second phase of the data collection process and multiple case studies were conducted in the third phase. Based on the literature review and the findings of the empirical research, a LSSMM was developed and used to assess the current level of LSS deployment maturity in five organisations in Saudi Arabia. The results of the empirical study show that LSS is in the early stages of implementation and that organisations in Saudi Arabia have only recently started to recognise the importance of LSS to their business. This finding was also supported by the evaluation of LSS maturity level that was assessed using the model developed in this study. This study contributes to understanding the current status of LSS in Saudi Arabian organisations and provides recommendations to guide the future of LSS in Saudi organisations by comparisons with the LSS literature and best practice. The contribution to knowledge and theory in this study is through validating and extending current operations management theories to LSS deployment, including organisational learning theory, theory of motivation and goal theory. The adoption of a mixed method approach contributes to the advancement of the methodology applied within LSS research in Saudi Arabian organisations. This study adds value for academics and practitioners in the field of LSS in Saudi Arabia by providing an intensive study on the current status of LSS deployment together with the LSSMM.