The advent of lean manufacturing has revolutionized the ways that American industries produce business and consumer products. While the world economy demands superior quality products at increasingly faster rates of production, organizations have been forced to respond to this demand in unheralded proportions. It is not a misnomer that the global market has changed the architecture of manufacturing environments and, thus, with a resounding command businesses are adapting to a new operational structure. Commonly denoted as “lean,” a new standard has been created which mandates that quality is sustained at the core of all manufacturing processes, with an ultimate goal of eliminating waste at all levels of the corporate value stream. Using a mixed methodology analyses, this dissertation explored the practicality of sustaining employee engagement in continuous improvement manufacturing settings. To provide a broad spectrum of the fundamental variables in lean environments, topics such as performance management, change management, social relationships in the work place, and the impact of leadership in manufacturing environments were examined. Also, due to the universal impact of lean initiatives on modern manufacturers, a comparison of popular Eastern and American work cultures and the impact of employee diversity were examined. This research culminated with qualitative and quantitative methodology components that surveyed manufacturing employees categorized as shop-floor blue-collar employees and front-line supervisors. An underlying goal of the research was to partner practical industry knowledge with academic knowledge, in an effort to propose a new construct in the paradigm of lean infrastructures.
|Adviser||Robert J. Hockin|
|Subjects||Management; Labor relations|
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