Lean management and employee well-being: Reconciling conflicting findings and ensuring successful implementation 

Steven Kilroy*, Patrick Flood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientific


“Lean management” is a management system that focuses on ensuring the efficient use of resources and eliminating waste, for the purpose of improving product quality, efficiency of processes, and better responsiveness to customers. At every step of the lean process, the question asked is “what value is being added to the customer?”. The performance advantages of lean management have been widely studied and consensus is emerging that lean management can pay dividends for multiple stakeholders. However, the impact of lean management on employee well-being is a current topic of lively debate. There is no consensus in the literature as to whether lean management improves or impairs employee well-being. Also, how to effectively implement lean to leverage improved and sustainable employee well-being remains an important yet nascent topic of research inquiry. The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the topic (and appeal) of lean management before briefly reviewing the competing theoretical perspectives and empirical evidence on its impact on well-being. Following this, the chapter has two central aims. First, it introduces a framework, based on recent empirical research, which (1) helps reconcile the aforementioned conflicting findings, (2) provides a platform for future research to more comprehensively investigate the effects of lean management on employees, and (3) helps managers understand what specific actions can maximize the benefits while minimizing the potential harmful effects of lean management. Second, the chapter discusses some of the central emerging themes explaining how lean management can be effectively implemented so that employee well-being is sustainably maintained.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on management and employment practices
EditorsP. Brough, K. Daniels, E. Gardiner
ISBN (Print)978-3030290115
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameHandbook Series in Occupational Health Sciences (HDBSOHS, volume 3)


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