Beyond efficiency: the role of lean practices and cultures in developing dynamic capabilities microfoundations

Leopoldo Gutierrez, Bart Alex Lameijer, Gopesh Anand, Jiju Antony, Vijaya Sunder M

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Scopus citations


    Purpose: The purpose of this study is to theorize and test the relationships among lean operations and lean supply chain practices, learning- and innovation-oriented lean cultures and dynamic capabilities (DCs) microfoundations. Further, this study aims to assess the association of DCs microfoundations with process innovation. Design/methodology/approach: The researchers combine primary data collected from 153 manufacturing firms located in five continents using a survey designed for the purpose of this study with archival data downloaded from the Bureau Van Dijk Orbis database and test the hypothesized relationships using structural equation modelling. Findings: Results support the contribution of lean operations and lean supply chain practices to the development of DCs microfoundations, which further lead to greater process innovation. Additionally, while a learning-oriented lean culture positively moderates the relationships between both lean operations and lean supply chain practices and DCs microfoundations, an innovation-oriented lean culture only moderates the relationship between lean operations practices and DCs microfoundations. Practical implications: This study identifies DCs microfoundations as the key mechanisms for firms implementing lean practices to achieve greater levels of process innovation and the important role played by lean cultures. This study provides direction for managers to put in place DCs through lean implementations, enabling their firms to be ready to respond to challenges and opportunities generated by environmental changes. Originality/value: While previous research has confirmed the positive effects of lean practices on efficiency, the role of lean practices and cultures in developing capabilities for reacting to environmental dynamism has received little attention. This study offers an empirically supported framework that highlights the potential of lean to adapt processes in response to environmental dynamics, thereby extending the lean paradigm beyond the traditional focus on operational efficiency.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)506-536
    Number of pages31
    JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
    Issue number13
    StatePublished - 19 Dec 2022


    • Continuous improvement
    • Dynamic capabilities
    • Lean
    • Microfoundations
    • Process innovation


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