Critical assessment on the Six Sigma Black Belt roles/responsibilities, skills and training: A global empirical study

Jiju Antony*, Harry Karaminas

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present the results of the first global empirical study on the roles/responsibilities and skills of Six Sigma Black Belts (SSBBs), followed by the most recent trends on an effective Black Belt (BB) training curriculum. Design/methodology/approach – The study is based on a survey questionnaire which was designed and distributed to (primarily) SSBBs around the world. A total of 105 responses from 14 different countries were received. Findings – The results of the study show that change agent and advocate on the use of statistical tools are being considered as the most significant roles that a BB undertakes. Additionally, analytical skills followed by expertise in Six Sigma method (DMAIC) along with all the related tools and techniques top the ranking with the most important skills that BBs should acquire. In terms of BB training, basic statistics appears to be the most important prerequisite, while the inclusion of soft skills in the BB curricula is being strongly supported. Finally, a consultation session after the formal training appears to be highly desired. Practical implications – This study identifies the roles/responsibilities that BBs should hold in organisations operating in the twenty-first century and the skills they should acquire. The findings are presented as a set of criteria on how to develop the world class BBs of the future. Companies and recruitment agencies could benefit from spotting the most talented BBs, resulting in cost savings in the recruiting and training processes. Originality/value – Contribution is being made by identifying the most commonly cited roles/responsibilities in the literature and comparing them to the practitioners’ views. A comparison on the characteristics of the currently provided BB training curricula and those of the best possible training programme is also presented.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)558-573
    Number of pages16
    JournalInternational Journal of Quality and Reliability Management
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Black belts
    • Characteristics
    • Curriculum
    • Responsibilities
    • Roles
    • Six Sigma
    • Skills
    • Training

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Business,Management and Accounting
    • Strategy and Management


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