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How does Lean connect to ethics and leadership – a literature study
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Industrial Engineering & Management.
2014 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Other academic)
Abstract [en]


To be more efficient, reduce costs but still maintain or actually raise the quality, is the content of an ordinary workday in organizations nowadays – also in the public sector and service industry. To deal with those demands and needs, organizations often implement different improvement systems, like Lean. Lean with its origins in car manufacturing is today used widely for improvement, also in public sector and service industry. Womack and Jones states that Lean is built by five principles: value, the value stream, flow, pull and perfection. Could some of the principles be more difficult to relate and apply in e.g. healthcare organizations? Could the principle pull be a problem in hospitals when it comes into action? If pull is about changing diapers according to weight, there could be an ethical problem. 

So, what happens when Lean is implemented in in the public sector and service industry?  What happens with leadership, values and ethical issues that are important in the care of humans? Are there some needs of accommodation and if there are some – what kind of? Do the implementation influence management and values in the organization?In my opinion, those questions are valid and interesting, and I would like to know more. In earlier studies, to find connections between Lean and ethic in health care organizations, where negative; no relations between Lean in health care organizations and ethics where found. Earlier research mostly deals with implementation and important issues to have in mind, when considering implementing Lean to reach success or avoid barriers.Purpose

This paper seeks to explore how Lean management connects to the concepts ethics and leadership.



The purpose will be addressed by a literature review synthesizing and analyzing previous research in the field using the three concepts “Lean”, “Leadership” and “Ethics” in six, databases.


Some connections found between the three keywords, but there seems to be a gap between “Lean” and “Ethics”.


The paper seek to find connections between Lean Management, Leadership and Ethics

Paper type

Research paper

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Lean, Leadership, Ethics
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Engineering Science with specialization in industrial engineering and management
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-251553OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-251553DiVA: diva2:806460
17th QMOD-ICQSS conference 2014, September 3-5, Prague, Czech Republic
Available from: 2015-04-20 Created: 2015-04-20 Last updated: 2015-05-21Bibliographically approved

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Ljungblom, Mia
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