Original Research

The South African perspective on the lean manufacturing Respect for People principles

Rojanette Coetzee, Cara Jonker, Karl van der Merwe, Liezl van Dyk
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 45 | a1613 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v45i0.1613 | © 2019 Rojanette Coetzee, Cara Jonker, Karl van der Merwe, Liezl van Dyk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 November 2018 | Published: 25 April 2019

About the author(s)

Rojanette Coetzee, School for Industrial Engineering, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Cara Jonker, Department of Industrial Psychology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Karl van der Merwe, Department of Industrial Engineering, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Liezl van Dyk, Faculty of Engineering, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: Many industries have adopted the popular continuous improvement (CI) approach, lean manufacturing, to facilitate CI initiatives. However, several studies have confirmed that the low success rate of lean implementation can be attributed to the disproportionate focus on lean tools and techniques at the expense of the human factor, as expressed in the Respect for People (RFP) principles mentioned in lean literature.

Research purpose: To provide qualitative insight into the understanding and applicability of the Japanese RFP principles within the South African context.

Motivation for the study: An improved understanding of these RFP principles within the South African context can contribute to more successful lean implementations.

Research approach/design and method: A phenomenological approach was followed to conduct the study in different South African industries. Purposive, expert sampling was used and 22 individuals took part in the exploratory discussions. Data analysis was performed using applied thematic analysis.

Main findings: The South African participants identified all the Japanese RFP principles as applicable to the South African context. However, additional RFP themes were also identified, specifically job security and aligned commitment.

Practical/managerial implications: These findings are of importance to organisations planning to implement a Japanese-designed optimisation technique within a South African context. Organisations should pay attention to the original Japanese RFP themes and the additional RFP themes identified in this study.

Contribution/value-add: This study contributes to the limited research available on lean manufacturing and the RFP principles within the South African context. New RFP themes are provided for organisations implementing a Japanese CI methodology within a South African context. The comparison of the understanding of the RFP themes in Japan and South Africa also contributes to the field of industrial psychology.


Keywords

Lean manufacturing; respect for people; applied thematic analysis; thematic map; continuous improvement; Japanese.

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