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Linking learning and knowledge creation to project success in Six Sigma projects : an empirical investigation

Velaayudan, Arumugam and Antony, Jiju and Kumar, Maneesh (2013) Linking learning and knowledge creation to project success in Six Sigma projects : an empirical investigation. International Journal of Production Economics, 141 (1). 388–402. ISSN 0925-5273

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Abstract

This study investigates the impact of two organizational antecedents, (1) SixSigma resources (technical) and (2) team psychological safety (social), on learning behaviour and knowledgecreation and, in turn, on the success of SixSigma process improvement projects. The paper proposes an integrated model to explain process improvement implementation success through two learning activities undertaken by SixSigmaproject teams: Knowing-what and Knowing-how. The conceptualization of these knowledge types in this research is different from usual conceptualization as it represents the knowledge brought into projects through various phases of SixSigmaprojects. The three hypotheses proposed in the model were tested using the data collected from 52 SixSigmaproject teams from a single organization. Regression analysis showed psychological safety affects project performance through knowing-how. Regression and bootstrapping analyses showed resources influence project performance through the combined mediation of knowing-what and knowing-how. The paper provides an interdisciplinary treatment of knowledge management in process improvement teams, and offers a research model demonstrating how SixSigmaproject teams promote deliberate organizational learning. By doing so, this study empirically establishes the notion that technical and social supports jointly impact the success of operations management initiative such as SixSigma through learning. The limitations of the study along with the future research directions are highlighted.