An empirical analysis on Six Sigma implementation in service organisations

Chakraborty, Ayon, and Chuan, Tan Kay (2013) An empirical analysis on Six Sigma implementation in service organisations. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, 4 (2). pp. 141-170.

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Purpose – Since its introduction by Motorola in the 1980s, Six Sigma and its philosophy have found widespread application in many manufacturing and service industries. It is felt that there is a need to take stock of the spread of Six Sigma implementation in service organisations. The purpose of this paper is to investigate five main themes which have emerged from literature and to draw on those themes to reflect on wider applicability of Six Sigma in services.

Design/methodology/approach – The study involves two exploratory questionnaire surveys. The small-scale survey is conducted in service organizations in Singapore. The large-scale survey was web-based and involved service organisations throughout the world. The objective is to explore and understand the issues highlighted by the service organisations during Six Sigma implementation.

Findings – The findings confirm the inclusion of critical success factors, critical-to-quality characteristics, and set of tools and techniques as observed from the literature. In the case of key performance indicators (KPIs), there are different interpretations about them in the literature and also by industry practitioners. Some literature explains KPIs as performance metrics whereas some feel they are key process input or output variables, which is similar to interpretations by practitioners of Six Sigma. The responses of “not relevant” and “unknown to us” as reasons for not implementing Six Sigma show the need for understanding specific requirements of service organizations.

Research limitations/implications – The limited responses from the authors' surveys restrict the possibility of generalising the findings. Therefore, more extensive survey is required. The three-phase approach with mixed method used in the overall study has been shown to be useful.

Originality/value – Although much theoretical description is available about Six Sigma, there has been limited rigorous academic research on it. This gap is far more pronounced about Six Sigma implementation in service organizations, where the theory is not yet mature. Identifying this need, the paper contributes, by empirical research through surveys, to understand the issues involving Six Sigma implementation in service organizations.

Item ID: 32262
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2040-4166
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2014 01:40
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1503 Business and Management > 150313 Quality Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 89 INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES > 8999 Other Information and Communication Services > 899999 Information and Communication Services not elsewhere classified @ 33%
90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9099 Other Commercial Services and Tourism > 909999 Commercial Services and Tourism not elsewhere classified @ 34%
92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920299 Health and Support Services not elsewhere classified @ 33%
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