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Revolution or 30-year fad? A role for I-O psychology in Lean management

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 July 2019

William K. Balzer
Affiliation:
Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, USA
Michelle H. Brodke
Affiliation:
Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, USA
Christopher Kluse
Affiliation:
Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, USA
Michael J. Zickar*
Affiliation:
Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, USA
*
*Corresponding author. Email: mzickar@bgsu.edu

Abstract

Lean management and related ideas have had a significant impact on organizations throughout North America and the world. Despite its popularity and impact, I-O psychologists have largely neglected Lean as a research topic and few I-O psychologists engage in applied practice in the area. In this focal article, we provide a working definition of Lean and present examples of Lean’s influence. Next, we outline possible reasons to explain I-O psychologists’ indifference to Lean. Finally, we provide some topic areas that I-O psychologists can use to contribute to the Lean literature. By using I-O psychologists’ skill in measurement and evaluation, along with our considerable organizational theory, we believe that I-O psychology can improve Lean and broaden their impact. We hope this focal article will inspire I-O psychologists to reconsider a research and practice area that they have previously ignored. In addition, we hope that this article causes I-O psychologists to reflect on their role to play in addressing popular management trends.

Type
Focal Article
Copyright
© Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology 2019 

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Footnotes

We want to thank Taylor Aubry for her research assistance and support on this project. In addition, we thank Timothy Krehbiel and Scott Highhouse for comments on an early version of this manuscript, as well as two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.

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