Challenges in the deployment of LSS in the higher education sector: viewpoints from leading academics and practitioners

Jiju Antony*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    40 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose – Although Lean Six Sigma (LSS) has been widely accepted today by more than 70 per cent Fortune 500 companies, its applications in the public sector are not widely observed and reported due to a number of challenges. The purpose of this paper is to present some of the fundamental challenges in the deployment of LSS within the higher education (HE) context. Design/methodology/approach – The author uses primary data in the form of opinions or viewpoints from leading academics and parishioners around the world. The viewpoints were collected carefully to have a good balance between the leading academics and the LSS practitioners. Findings – The challenges of LSS implementation in HE can be classified into three categories: organisational, technical and individual challenges. Lack of visionary leadership for LSS journey from top management team in the HE sector makes the deployment a total failure. The difficulty of defining and measuring quality in a HE setting along with collecting relevant and accurate data can be an immense technical challenge in any university sector. Moreover the lack of staff engagement, full academic freedom and autonomy will be a personal challenge for those who are involved in the business process improvement initiative such as LSS. Research limitations/implications – Due to limited time constraints, the number of people participated in the study was relatively small. However, the author argues that this study can provide a good foundation to various researchers and practitioners in further exploring the challenges in the implementation and deployment of LSS in any HE setting. Practical implications – The findings of the study can be very useful to those who get involved in the application of LSS principles for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of HE processes. Originality/value – This paper makes an attempt to reveal some of the rudimentary challenges in the deployment of LSS within the HE setting. These challenges should be taken into account when any HE sector embarks on the LSS initiative.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)893-899
    Number of pages7
    JournalInternational Journal of Productivity and Performance Management
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2015


    • Higher education
    • Lean production
    • Process efficiency
    • Process management
    • Quality
    • Six Sigma

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Business,Management and Accounting
    • Strategy and Management


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