Defining lean experts' roles and behavioral competencies during lean adoption: a case study of Groupe PSA


  • Magnani Florian
  • Siadat Ali
  • Caillaud Emmanuel
  • Gaudichau Olivier


  • Lean management
  • Behavioral competencies
  • Organizational change
  • Socio-technical systems
  • Lean experts' role
  • Qualitative study

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Purpose Previous research has managed to clearly define lean technical competencies. However, the behavioral competencies remain underestimated, and the roles of lean experts are not clearly stated: are they teachers, facilitators or technical experts? The present paper investigates lean behavioral competencies and their relationship to lean experts' roles. Design/methodology/approach This article serves as an exploratory study built on interviews, observations and focus groups conducted during a three-year longitudinal study accompanied by a three-year follow-up. The case takes place in an international automotive company in partnership with Toyota in which lean adoption was part of a consistent strategy over a period of 20 years. Findings The study clarifies lean behavioral competencies related to organizational efficiency (nominal management, improvement management and respect for people) and relational efficiency (problem resolution, competencies development and systemic interactions). The study helped create a typology of lean experts' roles related to the maturity level of the environment in which they intervened. Moreover, Lean experts' roles in congruence with the environment seem to positively influence the creation of emerging human relationships that are beneficial to process improvement and competencies development. Originality/value This paper is the first to clarify behavioral competencies with respect to lean experts' roles and to study the temporality of the introduction of lean practices. The findings recommend that researchers better acknowledge the influence of lean behavioral competencies during lean adoption and their relationship to contextual factors and organizational performance. A practical methodology is proposed to measure the necessary behavioral adjustments of lean experts or employees.

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