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Meaningful inhibitors of the lean journey: a systematic review and categorisation of over 20 years of literature

Leite, H., Radnor, Z. ORCID: 0000-0002-1624-5729 & Bateman, N. (2020). Meaningful inhibitors of the lean journey: a systematic review and categorisation of over 20 years of literature. PRODUCTION PLANNING & CONTROL, 33(5), pp. 403-426. doi: 10.1080/09537287.2020.1823511


Lean philosophy has been one of the most prominent methodologies of process improvement. Positive results from lean implementations have motivated managers to carry out lean transformations. However, the low success rates, linked to barriers to implement lean are still a challenge, and one of the reasons is the lack of understanding of these inhibitors and enablers. Scholars have investigated barriers that affect the lean journey, some of these barriers overlap and require a meaningful categorisation. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to fill in this gap by providing a review of more than 20 years of literature, and synthesising these barriers into meaningful organisational categories. To achieve this aim, we employed a systematic literature review. Our findings present six meaningful lean barriers, which we categorised into a framework. These barriers have mainly behavioural and organisational aspects (people-dependent), and technical aspects (tool-based). Finally, we derived eight propositions, contributing to knowledge and practice.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Production Planning and Control on 19 Oct 2020, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Lean barriers; inhibitors; enablers; tool-based; people-dependent
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
SWORD Depositor:
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