Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Numerous benefits have been claimed for firms which implement just-in-time approaches to manufacturing.;A fair number of Western firms have been successful at such implementations, obtaining dramatic performance improvements. However, many other firms which could benefit appear to be addressing only a few features rather than the overall philosophy and system. It is not clear what differentiates one firm's choices and results from those of another; the general research problem is to understand these differences.;The associated research questions are: (1) What explains how well firms are able to implement elements of JIT? and (2) What explains the choices by firms to pursue particular elements and implementation sequences of JIT?;This thesis uses a case-based methodology. Six plants claiming to be implementing some form of just-in-time manufacturing were visited. Data were obtained via interviews, questionnaires, direct observation, and collection of documents. Answers to the research questions were centered mainly around management initiatives, with reference to plant environments.;For the first research question, of six management initiatives considered in propositions, the results showed four to be necessary conditions for flow and quality aspects of JIT as well as for employee involvement. These four were: (1) promotion of employee responsibility, (2) provision of training, (3) promotion of teamwork, and (4) demonstration of visible commitment. The results also indicated that employee involvement plays a central role. Furthermore, a clan-like plant environment is strongly associated with these management initiatives and results.;For the second research question, five factors which partially explain the choices of JIT elements pursued by various plants were derived from the data. These were: (1) the organizational level of the initiator of JIT efforts, (2) the extent of active support by the plant manager, (3) the elapsed time since initial JIT efforts, (4) any workforce reductions clearly seen as actions of last resort, and (5) the absence of a piece rate incentive system.



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