The objective of this article is to explore possibilities for improving motivation for participation in Continuous Improvement (CI). Due to a number of issues, for example, challenges with measuring outcomes of CI activities on performance, the inherent slower, incremental rather than big bang nature of CI, and the perception of CI as being something done in addition to normal job responsibilities, motivation for participation may dwindle over time. Because CI is dependent on active participation of all members of the organization, including shop floor workers, sustaining motivation for CI activities is an important issue for managers. The paper begins with a short description of CI, with an emphasis on barriers to successful implementation cited in the literature. Thereafter, a number of widely-acknowledged-albeit perhaps somewhat dated-theories of motivation are explored in relation to the elements of CI in practice. Based on their own experiences with CI implementation in numerous action-research based studies, the authors propose a scenario for motivating CI participation through emphasis on factors common to the presented motivational theories. The paper ends with insights into future research on motivation of CI and similar incremental change initiatives, including a tentative research plan for testing elements of the described scenario. Through presentation of the scenario and the suggestions it implies, the paper makes a contribution to practice by offering a concrete way for managers to motivate participation in CI. Further the paper contributes to development of CI theory by suggesting how elements of motivation theory may address the most common types of barriers to successful CI.
Proceedings From the 8th Annual International Cinet Conference: Continuous Innovation - Opportunities and Challenges, 2007
Continuous Improvement; Employee Motivation and employee participation in change processes
Main Research Area:
8th International CINet ConferenceContinuous Innovation - Opportunities and Challenges<strong><strong/></strong><strong/>, 2007