Research gaps in Lean manufacturing: a systematic literature review

Evangelos Psomas*, Jiju Antony

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Literature contributions to Lean manufacturing (LM) are fragmented and show some significant limitations. The purpose of this paper is to identify the existing research gaps in LM as well as to group them into respective themes. Design/methodology/approach: A systematic literature review (SLR) of peer reviewed journal articles in LM was carried out by the authors, based on four major publishers, namely, Emerald Online, Science Direct, Springer Link and Taylor & Francis. In total, 120 articles published in 30 journals during 2005–2016 were collected which revealed LM research gaps. A simple affinity diagram was applied in order to group the research gaps into logical themes. Findings: A large number of research gaps are identified in the LM literature and meaningful themes of these gaps are also revealed. Research limitations/implications: The SLR carried out by the authors is based on only four academic journal publishers and some of other publishers might have been missed out in this search. Excluding articles focusing on an individual Lean principle or tool/technique is also a limitation of the present SLR. Practical implications: Researchers and practitioners can use the LM research gaps presented in this study for further development of LM methodology. Originality/value: Presenting LM research gaps analytically and grouping them into meaningful themes, significantly differentiates the present SLR study from those published so far.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815-839
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Quality and Reliability Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2019


  • Lean manufacturing
  • Research gap
  • Systematic literature review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • Strategy and Management


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