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Behind the Learning Curve: Linking Learning Activities to Waste Reduction

  • 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)

Registered author(s):

    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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    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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    1. von Hippel, Eric & Tyre, Marcie J., 1995. "How learning by doing is done: problem identification in novel process equipment," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 1-12, January.
    2. Paul S. Adler & Kim B. Clark, 1991. "Behind the Learning Curve: A Sketch of the Learning Process," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 37(3), pages 267-281, March.
    3. Amit Shankar Mukherjee & Michael A. Lapré & Luk N. Van Wassenhove, 1998. "Knowledge Driven Quality Improvement," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(11-Part-2), pages S35-S49, November.
    4. Jaikumar, Ramachandran & Bohn, Roger E., 1992. "A dynamic approach to operations management: An alternative to static optimization," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 265-282, October.
    5. John F. Muth, 1986. "Search Theory and the Manufacturing Progress Function," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(8), pages 948-962, August.
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