Department/School

Operations and Supply Chain Management

Date of this version

2010

Document Type

Article

Keywords

knowledge management, quality control, standards, case studies, total quality management, decision making, SIX Sigma (Quality control standard)

Abstract

Organizations are increasingly implementing process-improvement techniques like Six Sigma, total quality management, lean, and business process re-engineering to improve organizational performance. These techniques are part of a process management system that includes the organizational infrastructure to support the improvement techniques. The knowledge-based view of a firm argues that organizational knowledge is the source of competitive advantage. To the extent that the process management system enables knowledge creation it should be a source of competitive advantage. This study investigates the underlying framework and factors of a process management system that lead to organizational knowledge creation. Prior studies have considered knowledge creation in process improvement, but none have considered the role of the process management system. Specifically, the study uses the case study method to investigate multiple levels (organization level and project level) of two firms using Six Sigma as their chosen process management system. Analysis of the cases reveals that the leadership creates a supportive infrastructure enabling process- improvement techniques to effectively create organizational knowledge. Interestingly, focusing on decision-making tools and methods may not be effective without developing a supportive infrastructure. The proposed framework provides a basis for organizational leaders to think about how to design and implement a process management system to better enable knowledge creation in organizations.

Published in

Decision Sciences Journal

Citation/Other Information

Vol 41 (4)