Lean towards learning: connecting Lean Thinking and human resource management in UK higher education

Thirkell, Emma and Ashman, Ian (2014) Lean towards learning: connecting Lean Thinking and human resource management in UK higher education. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 25 (21). pp. 2957-2977. ISSN 0958-5192

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2014.948901


From its origins in the automotive industry,Lean Thinking is increasingly being seen as a solution to problems of efficiency and quality in other industries and sectors. In recent years attempts have been made to transfer Lean principles and practice to the higher education sector, with indications of mixed consequences and debate over its suitability. This paper contributes to the debate by drawing evidence from 34 interviews conducted across two UK universities that have implemented Lean in some of their activities, and we pay particular attention to the role of the human resource function in facilitating its introduction. The findings suggest that there are problems in understanding, communicating and transferring Lean Thinking in the higher education context; despite human resource systems being vital facets of Lean, human resource professionals are excluded from participation; and as a consequence the depth and breadth of Lean application in the two institutions is very limited.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: academics, employee experiences, HRM, higher education, lean thinking
Subjects: N600 Human Resource Management
X900 Others in Education
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2020 07:44
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 17:34
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/43623

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