Lean in Swedish municipalities -A study of Swedish municipalities that are practicing the lean concept
Abstract: Objectives: Lean is a management control concept that has become popular within service producing organizations. This study focuses on municipalities, among service organizations, and aims to investigate the presence of lean in Sweden´s municipalities. Through a literature review we will identify different focus areas from the lean literature based on the most common used variables of the concept. With the ground in these variables that are relevant for a service purpose we will examine which variables within these focus areas that the municipalities have adopted and have chosen to practice, and if, to which extent they are practicing them. Finally, the study will examine lean in municipalities from a Public Management Perspective, to se how the employees that practice lean, value the different variables in the aspect of becoming effective and thereby if the concept can contribute to more effective processes in the public sector. Methodology: We carried out an examination of the municipalities in Sweden. The municipalities were contacted over telephone to find out whether the municipality practiced lean. If so, they were emailed our web survey with questions about the lean concept. Thereafter, the answers were collected, the result was compiled and finally analyzed. Findings: We got in contact with 242 out of 290 existing municipalities. Out of the 242 contacted municipalities; 64 of them answered that they practiced the lean concept; 36 of them answered our web survey. The municipalities had either implemented lean in the whole municipality or in different departments. The results showed that municipalities have to a high extent adopted the lean concept in a similar way. All respondents answered that they practiced all the variables of lean to same extent, with a few exceptions. The different variables were also practiced to more or less the same extent. The respondents answered that all the different variables had a high importance of becoming more effective and that the lean concept had contributed to more effectiveness where it was practiced. Originality:This is not the first essay to examine the lean concept in Swedish municipalities. However, the lack of research that focuses on an overall perspective among municipalities inspired us to fill this gap.
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