Operations Management Research

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 15–23 | Cite as

Constructing useful theory: The case of Six Sigma

  • Suzanne de Treville
  • Norman M. Edelson
  • Anilkumar N. Kharkar
  • Benjamin Avanzi


Organizational practices related to Six Sigma are believed to have resulted in improved organizational outcomes. The academic community, however, continues to lack understanding of the constructs and causal relationships underlying Six Sigma. Hence, discussion of Six Sigma is buffeted by anecdotal experience reported from practice. We evaluate Six Sigma through the lens of literature on theory development to explain why the Six Sigma constructs, assumptions, and causal relationships are inconsistent with theory development principles.


Six Sigma Theory development Process improvement Linking theory and practice Process consistency 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne de Treville
    • 1
  • Norman M. Edelson
    • 2
  • Anilkumar N. Kharkar
    • 3
  • Benjamin Avanzi
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of Business and EconomicsUniversity of LausanneLausanne-DorignySwitzerland
  2. 2.Norm Edelson Manufacturing Improvement Co.ChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Corning IncorporatedCorningUSA
  4. 4.Faculty of Business and EconomicsUniversity of LausanneLausanne-DorignySwitzerland

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