Lean Six Sigma for public sector organizations: Is it a myth or reality?

Jiju Antony*, Bryan Rodgers, Elizabeth A. Cudney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Lean Six Sigma (LSS) as a process excellence has been widely adopted in both manufacturing and service organizations; however, its application in the public sector has not been widely explored. Is LSS still a myth or reality in our public sector organizations? The purpose of this paper is to make an attempt to debate about the use of LSS and its potential applications in the public sector context. Design/methodology/approach: The initial approach is to critically evaluate the role of LSS in various public sector contexts, followed by showcasing four case studies from four different public sector settings: higher education, police service, public hospital and local government. Findings: LSS methodology can be embraced by all public sector organizations to create efficient and effective processes to provide enhanced customer experience and value at reduced operational costs. Research limitations/implications: This paper seeks to contribute to and broaden the limited body of evidence of the applicability of LSS to public sector organizations and identifies areas for further research and review. Practical implications: LSS will continue to grow across many public sector organizations in Europe and other parts of the world over the forthcoming years. However, what will eventually determine if LSS is viewed by public sector organizations as just a passing management fad or not largely depends on the leadership and success of its execution. If LSS is deployed in its true sense across the public sector organizations at a global level, the hard cash savings generated can reach several billions. Originality/value: The paper yields an immense value to both research scholars and practitioners who are engaged in the introduction of LSS as a business process improvement strategy to achieve and sustain competitive advantage. Moreover, this paper makes an attempt to dispel the myth of LSS which have been quite prevalent in many public sector organizations around us today.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1402-1411
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Quality and Reliability Management
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2017


  • Case studies
  • Lean
  • Lean Six Sigma
  • Public sector
  • Six Sigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Strategy and Management


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