Business Strategy or useful tool: Analysis of the application of the 5S concept in Japan, the UK and the USA
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This research investigates how a Japanese philosophy for life, the 5S concept, has been applied as a strategy to achieve business improvement in Japan, the UK and the USA. An exploratory study into an under-researched area, the research utilises frameworks provided by Osada (1989, 1991) and Hirano (1995, 1996). A quantitative content analysis of the web-sites of 217 businesses is employed. Lexical analysis of the manifest content of World Wide Web business domains is used to determine the ways in which 5S has been adopted and implemented. The research finds that Japan emphasises 5S as a strategy for improvement, requiring participation both at work and in the home. In the UK and USA, 5S is viewed as a system or tool for the workplace only. The findings suggest that a balanced understanding of both ‘5S as a philosophy or way’ and ‘5S as a technique or tool’ could define the ultimate goal of 5S as a strategy to achieve efficiencies in the workplaces and processes of organisations.
British Academy of Management Conference Proceedings
© 2006 British Academy of Management (BAM).This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the conference's website for access to the definitive, published version.