Lean as a Tool for Local Workplace Innovation in Hospitals

  • Liv Starheim
  • Peter Hasle
Part of the Aligning Perspectives on Health, Safety and Well-Being book series (AHSW)


This chapter discusses the broader possibilities associated with the use of a lean-inspired methodology, namely P-lean, as a tool for local workplace innovation. The starting point of our discussion is a brief presentation of a case study in a large Danish hospital, where P-lean led to improvements in the psychosocial work environment as well as to productivity improvements by ensuring employee participation. Based on the case, we discuss some of the dilemmas in using lean for local workplace innovation in hospitals. Specifically, we focus on three main issues: (1) The difference between the approach in P-lean and the traditional drive for productivity increase in hospitals; (2) The relation between the concept of value in lean, professional healthcare values as well as employee well-being as a value; (3) The dilemma between the need for standardisation and management control and a risk of reducing employee control and autonomy. We conclude that P-lean could be a potentially powerful tool for workplace innovation as it affords possibilities for employees to be involved in local innovative activities where they improve not only their own work environment but also the quality and productivity of the work to benefit the patients.



This project is supported by a grant from the Danish Work Environment Research Fund.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Implementations and Performance ManagementTechnical University of DenmarkKongens LyngbyDenmark
  2. 2.Center for Industrial ProductionAalborg University CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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