Business improvement strategy or useful tool? Analysis of the application of the 5S concept in Japan, the UK and the US
This research investigates how a Japanese philosophy for life, the 5S concept, has been applied 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 approach of the web-sites of 217 businesses is used. Lexical analysis of the manifest content of World Wide Web business domains facilitates understanding of the ways in which 5S has been adopted and implemented. The research finds that Japan emphasizes 5S as a strategy for business excellence, 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 management approach to solve problems in the workplaces and processes of organisations.
Total Quality Management