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Behind the Learning Curve: Linking Learning Activities to Waste Reduction

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Author Info

  • Michael A. Lapré

    ()
    (Boston University, School of Management, 595 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02215)

  • Amit Shankar Mukherjee

    ()
    (125 Summer Street, Watertown, Massachusetts 02472)

  • Luk N. Van Wassenhove

    (INSEAD, Boulevard de Constance, 77305 Fontainebleau Cedex, France)

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    Abstract

    This exploratory research on a decade of Total Quality Management in one factory opens up the black box of the learning curve. Based on the organizational learning literature, we derive a quality learning curve that links different types of learning in quality improvement projects to the evolution of the factory's waste rate. Only 25% of the quality improvement projects---which acquired both know-why and know-how---accelerated waste reduction. The other 75% of the projects either impeded or did not affect waste reduction. In complex and dynamic production environments, locally acquired knowledge is difficult to disseminate. The combination of know-why and know-how facilitates its dissemination.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.46.5.597.12049
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 46 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 5 (May)
    Pages: 597-611

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:46:y:2000:i:5:p:597-611

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    Related research

    Keywords: learning-curve; organizational learning; quality; TQM; technological knowledge; experimentation; knowledge transfer;

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    Cited by:
    1. Su, Hung-Chung & Chen, Yi-Su, 2013. "Unpacking the relationships between learning mechanisms, culture types, and plant performance," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 728-737.
    2. Toft-Kehler, Rasmus & Wennberg, Karl & Kim, Phillip H., 2014. "Practice makes perfect: Entrepreneurial-experience curves and venture performance," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 453-470.
    3. Jaber, Mohamad Y. & Khan, Mehmood, 2010. "Managing yield by lot splitting in a serial production line with learning, rework and scrap," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(1), pages 32-39, March.
    4. Gul, Ferdinand A. & Fung, Simon Yu Kit & Jaggi, Bikki, 2009. "Earnings quality: Some evidence on the role of auditor tenure and auditors' industry expertise," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 265-287, June.
    5. Jaber, M.Y. & Goyal, S.K. & Imran, M., 2008. "Economic production quantity model for items with imperfect quality subject to learning effects," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 143-150, September.
    6. Biskup, Dirk & Simons, Dirk, 2004. "Common due date scheduling with autonomous and induced learning," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 159(3), pages 606-616, December.
    7. Lai, Peng-Jen & Lee, Wen-Chiung, 2011. "Single-machine scheduling with general sum-of-processing-time-based and position-based learning effects," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 467-471, October.
    8. Lenfle, Sylvain & Midler, Christophe, 2009. "The launch of innovative product-related services: Lessons from automotive telematics," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 156-169, February.
    9. Sylvain Lenfle & Christophe Midler, 2009. "The Launch of Innovative Product-Related Services: Lessons from automotive telematics," Post-Print halshs-00401124, HAL.
    10. Jonathan R. Clark & Robert S. Huckman & Bradley R. Staats, 2013. "Learning from Customers: Individual and Organizational Effects in Outsourced Radiological Services," NBER Working Papers 18723, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Robert S. Huckman & Bradley R. Staats, 2008. "Variation in Experience and Team Familiarity: Addressing the Knowledge Acquisition-Application Problem," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-035, Harvard Business School.
    12. Harrington, Donna Ramirez, 2012. "Two-stage adoption of different types of pollution prevention (P2) activities," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 349-373.
    13. Nadeau, Marie-Claude & Kar, Ashish & Roth, Richard & Kirchain, Randolph, 2010. "A dynamic process-based cost modeling approach to understand learning effects in manufacturing," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 128(1), pages 223-234, November.
    14. Wang, Weijia & Plante, Robert D. & Tang, Jen, 2013. "Minimum cost allocation of quality improvement targets under supplier process disruption," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 228(2), pages 388-396.
    15. Teyarachakul, Sunantha & Çömez, Doğan & Tarakci, Hakan, 2014. "Steady-state skill levels of workers in learning and forgetting environments: A dynamical system analysis," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 232(1), pages 9-21.
    16. Carolyn D. Egelman & Dennis Epple & Linda Argote & Erica R.H. Fuchs, 2013. "Learning by Doing in a Multi-Product Manufacturing Environment: Product Variety, Customizations, and Overlapping Product Generations," NBER Working Papers 19674, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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