Academic leadership and Lean Six Sigma: A novel approach to systematic literature review using design of experiments

Stephen Graham Anthony, Jiju Antony*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the ability to researchers of using design of experiments (DoE) as a structured and systematic approach to performing systematic literature reviews. The authors demonstrate a simple case study illustrating the application of DoE in executing a systematic literature review on two popular topics in higher education: academic leadership and Lean Six Sigma.

    Design/methodology/approach – The methodology involves the systematic literature review of linking academic leadership with terms such as Lean, Six Sigma, Total Quality Management, Maturity Model and Continuous Improvement. The main tool used to structure the systematic literature review is a Taguchi Orthogonal Array design, specifically an L16 grid and the method is verified by conducting another review, replacing the term academic leadership with simply leadership.

    Findings – The approach identified at first no research papers linking the terms; however, when academic leadership was replaced with university, 19 research papers where discovered. The verification exercise, linking just leadership with the other search string generated over 1,000 results – demonstrating that the tool can find large volumes of articles if they exist, the search was completed for a ten year time frame – 2004 to 2014.

    Research limitations/implications – The case study focussed on a field which is known to have little current research and the verification exercise deliberately targeted a known large body of research. The authors will continue to use the approach and refine the technique over time.

    Practical implications – This approach would help any researcher despite of their discipline to identify opportunities and gaps in the current literature.

    Originality/value – The paper shows how DoE can be used in an academic research-based process. No other literature review approach currently exists which uses Taguchi approach to DoE to filter the search criteria.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1002-1018
    Number of pages17
    JournalInternational Journal of Quality and Reliability Management
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Academic leadership
    • Design of experiments
    • Higher education
    • Lean Six Sigma
    • Systematic literature review
    • Taguchi methods

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Business,Management and Accounting
    • Strategy and Management


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