Continuous Process Improvement, Business Process Orientation and Innovation

This article is a brief summary of the paper “Dynamic Capabilities through Continuous Improvement, Organizational Process Alignment and Innovation” by M. Kohlbacher and M. Ringhofer, which will be presented next week at the 30th Annual International Conference of the Strategic Management Society in Rome ( The paper examines the interaction effect of continuous improvement initiatives (e.g. Six Sigma or KAIZEN) and business process orientation on innovation. The empirical study uses a sample of 67 Austrian manufacturing companies.

 The empirical evidence shows that firms which apply continuous improvement methods and at the same time

  • have a culture in line with the process approach (i.e. a culture based on teamwork and customer orientation; and where  process workers have detailed knowledge of how their process is executed, etc.) or
  • a strong top management commitment towards the process approach (i.e. where management does not perceive the process program as a single project, but as a way of managing the business; and where management is actively engaged in the process program)

can develop their products to the market more quickly. The paper will be presented in Track I, Session 203.

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