An actor–network theory perspective for “Lean” interventions in manufacturing firms
MetadataShow full item record
Purpose This paper tracks the network of actors participating in the initial implementation of a “Lean management” system, in order to identify associations between human and non-human participants conducive to successful adoption of the system. Design/methodology/approach The perspective of actor–network theory (ANT) helps reveal the complex dynamics at play in a “Lean” intervention at a manufacturing firm. It allows to identify key actors (human and non-human), as well as the possible associations between them, and helps produce network diagrams to track the changes in actors' roles and in network coherence over time. Findings Through a network analysis, the study charts the complexity of the process of Lean intervention, by accounting for the distinct possibility that actors' roles may shift over time, as they engage and disengage with the proposed intervention, until they fully cohere into a new system. Based on this, it derives a conceptual model to describe relevant factors for successful implementation of Lean improvement projects. Originality/value The ANT perspective affords new insights into Lean Management systems implementation, by highlighting associations between human and non–human actors. This novel focus suggests corresponding management guidelines and reflective practices for successful intervention.