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The purpose of this study is to identify the practical implications of Lean, Six Sigma (SS) and Lean SS (LSS) in the public administration sector. Determining the key themes of these practical implications is also an aim of the present study.Design/methodology/approachA systematic literature review (SLR) was conducted based on the databases of six well-known academic publishers, namely, Emerald, Elsevier/Science Direct, Springer Link, Taylor and Francis, Sage and Willey online. The review revealed 56 peer-reviewed journal articles published between 2004 and 2020. The “affinity diagram” was applied to group the practical implications of Lean, SS and LSS into logical themes.FindingsA plethora of practical implications of Lean, SS and LSS in the public administration sector are identified in the literature, examples of which are analytically presented. The analysis showed that the practical implications identified can be grouped into 14 meaningful themes, and these themes in turn into categories, formulating thus, a conceptual framework. The key themes that are supported in the literature by most references are the following: human factors involved in Lean/SS/LSS, Lean/SS/LSS benefits and Lean/SS/LSS implementation issues.Research limitations/implicationsAlthough several databases were used, some publishers might have been missed out in this SLR. The subjectivity in applying the “affinity diagram” is also a limitation of this study. Based on these limitations, further literature review studies can be designed.Practical implicationsTwofold implications arise from the present study, meaning from the practitioner and the academic perspective. The practical implications identified as well as their meaningful themes revealed constitute useful guidelines for managers and decision-makers wishing to implement Lean/SS/LSS in the public administration sector and bridge their knowledge gap between theory and practice. Moreover, all the practical dimensions of Lean/SS/LSS included in the comprehensive conceptual framework formulated could serve as research avenues for academics.Originality/valueThe application of Lean/SS/LSS in the public sector has not been widely reviewed, while the stream of literature focuses on limited issues (critical success factors, benefits, challenges, etc.). Moreover, SLRs in services and specifically in the public administration sector are fewer. Stimulated by this gap and the suggestions of other researchers for future studies, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study provides the first SLR which analyzes the practical implications of Lean/SS/LSS in the public administration sector and determines their key themes.
International Journal of Lean Six Sigma – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 18, 2022
Keywords: Lean; Six sigma; Lean six sigma; Systematic literature review; Public administration sector; Practical implications
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