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Title: Implementing a Continuous Improvement tool : a practice perspective
Author: Rousaki, Barbara
ISNI:       0000 0004 2698 8985
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2010
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This study investigates the implementation process of a Continuous Improvement (CIm) tool using the strategy-as-practice (s-as-p) perspective. The research is underpinned by the theoretical approaches of innovation process research, CIm theory and the s-as-p perspective. There are a limited number of empirical studies actually describing the implementation process of CIm tools. In identifying the need to study the behavioural aspects of CIm implementation, this study evaluated the use of a tool as something that people “do” rather than something that organisations “have”. By adopting the s-as-p theoretical approach it addressed strategy as a phenomenon consisting of social action. The scope of the research strategy was to explore the implementation process and to gain a thorough understanding of this. Therefore, a multi-focus case study research strategy was adopted comparing and contrasting, through rich qualitative analysis, eight cases that were either new to or had had experience in using a CIm tool. The research concluded that “collective practice” significantly influences the internal life of the implementation process, which is not guided by linear activities but by a process of improvisation that requires company-wide commitment. It was evident that the factors facilitating the implementation process were a set of incrementally and culturally acquired practices such as leadership functions and the collective practices of the wider workforce. Implementation process barriers were associated with low staff engagement, industry problems, knowledge and strategy-related factors. The implementation appeared to have enhanced the capability of the participant organisations to continuously improve and to exploit knowledge. The findings make some important contributions to the s-as-p perspective and to the literature on CIm by illustrating how CIm is practiced and integrated within firms through the use of a standards-driven tool; the study illustrates that CIm is not something that organisations have through CIm tools but is something that organisations should constantly be reaching through collective practices. Finally, the research suggests that the specific characteristics of the hospitality industry may influence some of the CIm behaviours and therefore demonstrates that any strategy implementation requires research contextually relevant to the industry.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available