Critical failure factors of lean Six Sigma: A systematic literature review

Saja Albliwi, Jiju Antony, Sarina Abdul Halim Lim, Ton van der Wiele

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    394 Scopus citations


    Purpose-Lean Six Sigma (LSS) is a continuous improvement methodology that aims to reduce the costs of poor quality, improve the bottom-line results and create value for both customers and shareholders. The purpose of this paper is to explore the critical failure factors for LSS in different sectors, such as manufacturing, services, higher education, etc. Design/methodology/approach-The following research is based on a systematic literature review of 56 papers that were published on Lean, Six Sigma and LSS in well-known academic databases from 1995 to 2013. Findings-There are 34 common failure factors of LSS cited in this paper. There are some common factors for failure, such as a lack of top management commitment and involvement, lack of communication, lack of training and education, limited resources and others. Many gaps and limitations are discussed in this paper and need to be explored in future research. Originality/value-The paper is one of the first systematic literature reviews to explore the critical failure factors of LSS and discuss the top failure factors from different angles, i.e. countries’ evolution, organisations’ size (small-and medium-sized enterprises and large organisations) and industry nature.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)1012-1030
    Number of pages19
    JournalInternational Journal of Quality and Reliability Management
    Issue number9
    StatePublished - 30 Sep 2014


    • Failure
    • Lean
    • Lean Six Sigma
    • Six Sigma
    • Systematic review


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