The field of lean enterprise has continued to grow since being introduced by the Toyota Corporation after World War II. In academia lean strategies are being introduced in order to prepare students for this new era in operating procedures. Currently, the majority of research in business and academia is focused on processes and methodology, but leadership strategies are yet to be fully examined.

According to Hamilton (2006) there are insufficient resources and research that contribute to understanding successful implementation strategies. Hamilton (2006) expresses concern of the lack of focus on leadership strategies and employee development in lean enterprise.

This qualitative study explores factors that impede and facilitate implementation of lean processes in business and industry. Business leaders whose organizations are implementing lean processes were interviewed. Furthermore, interviews were conducted with consultants in the field of lean enterprise. Other data was collected from document review, site visits, and observations, where feasible. Grounded theory and open coding techniques were used to sort the data according to major categories and themes. Factors were then subjected to specific statistical tests to determine the degree of relationship between factors and successful lean enterprise implementation. Interpretation and discussion will generate a new theoretical model for lean enterprise methodology. Recommendations for future research conclude the study.


Lean, Implementation, Impeding, Facilitating

Date of this Version

December 2007


Organizational Leadership

Department Head

Dr. Beyerlien

Month of Graduation


Year of Graduation



Master of Science

Advisor 1 or Chair of Committee

Dr. Linda Naimi

Advisor 2

Rodney Vandeveer

Committee Member 1

Dr. Linda Naimi

Committee Member 2

Rodney Vandeveer

Committee Member 3

Al Crispo