Linking learning and knowledge creation to project success in Six Sigma projects: An empirical investigation

V. Arumugam, Jiju Antony, Maneesh Kumar

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    95 Scopus citations


    This study investigates the impact of two organizational antecedents, (1) Six Sigma resources (technical) and (2) team psychological safety (social), on learning behaviour and knowledge creation and, in turn, on the success of Six Sigma process improvement projects. The paper proposes an integrated model to explain process improvement implementation success through two learning activities undertaken by Six Sigma project teams: Knowing-what and Knowing-how. The conceptualization of these knowledge types in this research is different from usual conceptualization as it represents the knowledge brought into projects through various phases of Six Sigma projects. The three hypotheses proposed in the model were tested using the data collected from 52 Six Sigma project teams from a single organization. Regression analysis showed psychological safety affects project performance through knowing-how. Regression and bootstrapping analyses showed resources influence project performance through the combined mediation of knowing-what and knowing-how. The paper provides an interdisciplinary treatment of knowledge management in process improvement teams, and offers a research model demonstrating how Six Sigma project teams promote deliberate organizational learning. By doing so, this study empirically establishes the notion that technical and social supports jointly impact the success of operations management initiatives such as Six Sigma through learning. The limitations of the study along with the future research directions are highlighted.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)388-402
    Number of pages15
    JournalInternational Journal of Production Economics
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jan 2013


    • Knowing-how
    • Knowing-what
    • Project performance
    • Psychological safety
    • Six Sigma
    • Team learning


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