Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate leadership attributes that contribute to or inhibit the successful adaptation of lean techniques. Design/methodology/approach – Using leadership attributes of the Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) project, this paper develops an ideal leadership profile of a production manager who aims to develop a lean production system (based on Liker’s seminal work in 2004). Five hypotheses related to contributor and inhibitor leadership behaviors and their associated leadership attributes are analyzed using survey data based on a PLS model. Findings – According to the results, the proposed conceptual leadership profile, in which leadership attributes are divided into two sets (contributors and inhibitors), required modification. The authors identified five distinct leadership behaviors (specific interrelated sets of leadership attributes). Two of the five leadership behaviors (communicative and micromanager) for production managers contributed to lean implementation. None of the leadership behaviors were inhibitors. Surprisingly, a theoretical inhibitor type of leadership behavior, namely micromanager, proved to be a contributor. Practical implications – The results provide direct guidance for Hungarian managers with leadership behaviors that can contribute to the successful adaptation of lean techniques. However, managers must also consider that although these leadership behaviors may result in short-term gains, the micromanager leadership behavior can undermine the long-term sustainability of lean success and can hinder the development of a lean culture. Originality/value – Leaders are frequently considered to be the key drivers of lean management. The empirical paper is unique because it analyzes the relationship among leadership behaviors, leadership attributes, and lean contexts.
Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 5, 2015
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