Five "S" improvement system: An assessment of employee attitudes and productivity improvements

by Hutchins, Christopher B., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2007, 118 pages; 3240025


The 21st century is no longer afloat in the distant future and today's corporate managers are asking themselves how to ensure their companies' survival (Hirano, 1995). A company is like a living organism---when its environment changes, it must also change. Five S (5S) is a program that consists of the basic civilization that protects corporate organisms from the ravages of the changing environment (Hirano, 1995). The principles of 5S form the foundation upon which a company must stand to survive. Companies truly intent on finishing this century ahead of the competition must make 5S their first step (Hirano, 1995). The 5S's are not to be used simply as a way to hide the superficial aspects of the factory or office, but as the foundation for any company wishing to ensure long-term survival (Hirano, 1995). The purpose of the study was to assess the effectiveness of a 5S program. This was a causal comparative research study. Causal comparative research involves the comparison of two or more groups on some single outcome variable (Forman, 2003). The characteristic that differs between the groups is the independent variable. The measured outcome is the dependent variable. In this study, the independent variable was whether or not the department had implemented 5S. There were several dependent variables, represented by the sixteen hypotheses. Significant (p < .05) improvements were found in four of the dependent variables---productivity in two cost centers, workplace cleanliness, workplace organization, and use of floor space, as a result of having implemented 5S. Improvements in several other dependent variables were noted, but not at the significant ( p < .05) level. 5S audits conducted monthly indicated positive trending in most of the cost centers that have implemented 5S. Several key implementation factors were found to be missing from the 5S implementations at this facility, such as clear goals and expectations of 5S, ongoing reinforcement, and addressing non-compliance. Several recommendations for future studies include the impact of unionization, employee-management trust, cultural diversity and language issues, leadership styles in place at the time, facility age, employee age and seniority, and various implementation approaches.

AdviserWayland Secrest
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Occupational psychology
Publication Number3240025

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