The diffusion of lean operations in MNCs: a knowledge-based, plant level, cross-firm study

Arnaldo Camuffo, Raffaele Secchi, Chiara Paolino

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroChapter


Rolling out lean operations practices in MNCs’ plants is a complex knowledge transfer process whose design and implementation, though critical to operations perfor-mance, to date has not been investigated by operations management, international business, strategy, and organizational design research. Applying conceptual tools drawn from various theoretical approaches to knowledge management, transfer and diffusion, this exploratory study: a) classifies and interprets lean roll-out processes in MNCs, framing them in terms of (i) knowledge replication strategies (template versus principles-based), (ii) decentralization of decision making (degree of plant autonomy) and (iii) type of organizational ambidexteri-ty (structural versus contextual) underlying the process; b) develops, through seven case studies of lean roll-outs in MNCs’ plants, three testable propositions about what might en-hance the lean roll-out process performance, arguing about the individual and combined ef-fect of the three above mentioned dimensions on lean roll-out effectiveness and efficiency. We posit that an approach characterized by principles-based knowledge replication, larger decentralization, and prevalence of contextual ambidexterity positively impacts on roll-out process performance
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteAdvances in International Management
Numero di pagine34
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2014

Serie di pubblicazioni



  • Lean operations
  • MNCs’ organizational design
  • absorptive capacity
  • knowledge transfer


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