Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

Dr. Robert DeYoung

Abstract

Approximately 80% of lean manufacturing program initiatives are abandoned in the first year of implementation. Only 2% of organizations that embark on the lean journey complete it with the results and the sustainability they expected. There is a gap in past research regarding, the leadership strategies organizations can use to overcome resistance to change during lean manufacturing program implementations. The problem in this study was that leaders have limited information to overcome resistance to change when implementing these programs. The purpose of this study was to explore how leaders within manufacturing organizations may overcome resistance to change through leadership strategy. The conceptual framework was Kotter's 8 steps of change. Data were collected from 20 participant interviews with leaders who implemented lean manufacturing programs successfully and sustainably in their organizations. The data analysis for this study consisted of repeated reviews of transcription and audio-recorded data that resulted in the coding of themes from participant interviews. The data analysis resulted in 12 themes that emerged from significant statements made through participant responses. Results indicated that senior leadership participation and communication are the main strategies needed to overcome resistance to change during lean manufacturing program implementations. Followed by allowing employees to experiment with processes for their areas, training, and process alignment for a comprehensive strategy. The implications of positive social change within this study are to provide a positive perspective to organizational leaders looking to deploy lean manufacturing change initiatives and to help leaders overcome employee resistance to the organizational changes.