Inderscience Publishers

Continuous improvement capability in the Swedish engineering industry

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This article reports findings from the Swedish part of the 2nd International Continuous Improvement Survey. Based on Bessant's evolutionary model of continuous improvement behaviour, the continuous improvement capability level of the Swedish engineering industry is estimated. The data analysis shows that there is a need for progression towards higher continuous improvement capability levels. Therefore, the specific abilities to develop in order to support such a move forward are clarified. In addition to being an illustration of manufacturing practices in Sweden from a continuous improvement perspective, this article contributes to the field of Operations Management by being the first attempt to replicate the work of Bessant via a large-scale survey study. The model is found valid and it shows that development of continuous improvement abilities contribute to the enhancement of plant performance.

Keywords: continuous improvement behaviour, empirical research, performance, Sweden, engineering industry

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