Lean Principles, Learning, and Software Production: Evidence from Indian Software Services

34 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2009  

Bradley R. Staats

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School

David M. Upton

University of Oxford - Said Business School

Date Written: March 30, 2009

Abstract

While the concepts of lean production are frequently applied in service organizations there is little work that rigorously has examined implementing lean production in contexts other than manufacturing as well as lean production's impact on performance in these settings. In this paper we set out to accomplish both tasks by investigating the implementation of a lean production system at an Indian software services firm. Combining a detailed case study and empirical analysis we document the internal processes that the lean initiative influences. We find that lean projects perform better than the non-lean projects in our sample in many, but not all cases. Building on this result we see that the impact of the techniques on problem solving, coordination, and standardization of work improve the way that the firm learns as well as its productivity. In so doing, we gain insight into how a company can build an operations-based advantage.

Keywords: Lean production, operations strategy, organizational learning, software

Suggested Citation

Staats, Bradley R. and Upton, David M., Lean Principles, Learning, and Software Production: Evidence from Indian Software Services (March 30, 2009). Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Working Paper No. 08-001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1370409 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1370409

Bradley R. Staats (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School ( email )

McColl Building, CB#3490
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
United States

David M. Upton

University of Oxford - Said Business School ( email )

Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain

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