The organizational infrastructure of continuous improvement – an empirical analysis

Abstract

To pursue constant incremental improvements, firms must develop the dynamic capability of continuous improvement (CI). Research suggests that an organizational infrastructure is necessary to sustain CI capability. Although there have been some attempts to delineate a comprehensive model for CI infrastructure, empirical investigation is still underdeveloped. The present study explores key dimensions of the organizational infrastructure—strategic alignment, teamwork for problem solving, and goals management systems. We analyze their effects on CI capability by using a database of 266 firms. We identify the variables that underlie the organizational infrastructure through exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis of measurement items, and then we perform a structural equation model linking the infrastructure to CI capability. Our findings suggest that strategic alignment and teamwork for problem solving affect CI capability. This study contributes to the operationalization of the organizational infrastructure and to the understanding of how it affects CI capability in operations management contexts.

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Marcello Gurian e Giulia Malimpensa for constructive comments and suggestions on earlier versions of this paper.

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Correspondence to Ambra Galeazzo.

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Galeazzo, A., Furlan, A. & Vinelli, A. The organizational infrastructure of continuous improvement – an empirical analysis. Oper Manag Res 10, 33–46 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12063-016-0112-1

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Keywords

  • Continuous improvement
  • organizational infrastructure
  • organizational learning
  • dynamic capabilities