Factors Predicting Employees' Approval of Lean Production

Mark A. Shadur, John J. Rodwell, Greg J. Bamber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


A number of influential studies advocate the adoption of a lean production system (LPS) in order to improve quality and efficiency in Western automotive plants. Critics argue that such systems place excessive demands upon employees. Very little survey data, however, is available on employees' attitudes toward lean production since companies are frequently reluctant to grant such access. Our survey of 200 employees in a Japanese-owned automotive plant in Australia using lean production found that commitment to the company, speed of work and, in special circumstances, age were predictors of employees' approval of the LPS. Employees' perceived levels of stress and Japanese management techniques, such as consultation and a teamwork orientation, were not predictors of approval of the LPS, a finding that contradicts earlier research in this field. Other variables in the analysis, including employee demographics, had no predictive value. We use the results to comment on the wider debate about the transfer of Japanese manufacturing practices to Western countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1403-1425
Number of pages23
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1995


  • employee attitudes
  • Japanese management
  • lean production
  • quality
  • transferability

Cite this