A Comparison of Business Improvement Methodologies: Are They Converging Towards One Universal Approach?

Curtis, Richard (2006) A Comparison of Business Improvement Methodologies: Are They Converging Towards One Universal Approach? [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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The latter part of the 20th Century saw a significant rise in the popularity of business improvement programmes, driven by the changing competitive environment and the need to continually improve performance in aspects such as cost, quality, customer service, flexibility and pace. Over the last few decades methodologies such as Total Quality Management, Six Sigma, Business Process Re-engineering, Lean and the Theory of Constraints have been used by many organisations to deliver performance improvement.

This study attempts to answer three key questions; what similarities and differences exist between the key operational improvement methodologies in practice today, to what extent are they converging into one universal improvement approach, and how are they moving beyond operations to support business-wide improvement programmes?

Through the qualitative analysis of reported case studies and the presentation of two new cases, the study concludes that business improvement methodologies and tools are being combined in practice, driven by the demand from practitioners for an improvement approach that can be used effectively in a wide variety of business contexts.

The extension of improvement methodologies beyond operations requires broader view of the fundamental principles upon which the methodologies are based. To support business-wide application, a strategic perspective is necessary, linking improvement activity with the achievement of strategic goals. In addition, the effective management of change is required to ensure the institutionalisation of these principles and the development of organisational improvement capability.

Finally, a working model for business improvement is presented that attempts to provide a holistic framework for managing improvement activity to ensure sustainable performance improvement in all aspects of the business that is directly linked to strategic goals.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Keywords: Total Quality Management, TQM, Six Sigma, Business Process Re-engineering, BPR, Lean, Theory of Constraints, Business Excellence, Business Improvement, Business Transformation
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2006
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2016 13:15
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/20600

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