Conceptualizing continuous improvement: Implications for organizational change

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


This paper attempts to bridge the gap in the change conceptions of two different genres of literature. It brings together the literature on continuous improvement in the manufacturing field and the literature on organization change in the fields of strategic change and organization development. In the latter literature, studies describe both dramatic and discontinuous changes and disjointed but logical incremental changes. These changes are considered the territory of the top management. The continuous improvement concepts emphasize incremental changes that are continuous, concerted, and accumulative. In this case, workers are considered to play a key role in making changes. The two genres of literature are brought together to formulate a more comprehensive framework of organizational change, in which continuous incremental changes and dramatic and discontinuous changes can coexist and interrelate for more effective change processes in organizations. An example of the implementation of statistical process control illustrates this point.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-624
Number of pages18
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • continuous improvement
  • management
  • manufacturing
  • organizational change
  • quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Information Systems and Management


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