The Role of Responsibility Factors of Reducing Inefficiencies in IS Projects on Six Sigma Certification in Service Organizations

The Role of Responsibility Factors of Reducing Inefficiencies in IS Projects on Six Sigma Certification in Service Organizations

Sara Hejazi (Arcadia University, USA) and Yair Levy (Nova Southeastern University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jisss.2012070101
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Abstract

Service organizations worldwide are turning to Six Sigma Program (SSP) to remove variability in their processes to attain a competitive marketplace advantage. SSP offers methodology, concepts, and statistical tools to understand and standardize processes by reducing sources of variability. An effective “Belt” certification program, considered a major contributor to successful implementation of SSP as it provides the SSP professionals a clear understanding of what their responsibilities should be. It’s been argued that a successful implementation of SSP in an organization may require a significant percentage of the organization’s workforce, about 25% to 50%, to become Green Belt (GB) certified. A significant number of professionals who attend GB certification training elect not to become certified. The certification challenge is even more daunting in an information systems (IS) environment due to number of certifications available to IS professionals and their weak intention to become certified. In this study the authors’ developed a predictive model to address the certification challenges that IS organizations face in implementing SSP by investigating the factors that can influence the intention of professionals to acquire GB certification. Five major responsibility factors along with specific responsibilities under each major factor were developed through a multi-phase grounded theory approach with IS professionals of a Fortune 500 company.
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Introduction

Organizations worldwide have been turning to Six Sigma Program (SSP) to eliminate the defects in their products or drive out the variability in their processes to attain a competitive advantage in their marketplace (Coronado & Antony, 2004). Linderman, Schroeder, Zaheer, and Choo (2003) have defined Six Sigma as “an organized and systematic method for strategic process improvement and new product and service development that relies on statistical methods and the scientific method to make dramatic reductions in customer defined defect rates” (p. 195). SSP was originally for manufacturing environments, but examples of its implementation can now be found in significant number of service organizations (Antony, 2006; Heckl, Moormann, & Rosemann, 2010). In fact, implementation of Six Sigma principle in service industries in the context of supply chain is a major contributor to the rampant growth of SSP in the past two decades (Wei, Sheen, Tai, & Lee, 2010). For service organizations, SSP offers methodology, concepts, and statistical tools to understand and standardize their processes by reducing sources of variability.

An effective “Belt” certification program has been touted as a major contributor to successful implementation of SSP as it provides the professionals involved with a clear understanding of what their responsibilities should be in SSP process improvement projects (Gitlow, Levine, & Popovich, 2006). Six Sigma Leadership Team (SSLT), Master Black Belts (MBBs), Black Belt (BBs), and Green Belts (GBs) are identified as key players filling the leadership roles in implementation of SSP in organizations including service oriented ones (Snee & Hoerl, 2003). In SSP implementation, projects teams are formed temporarily to identify process improvement projects and implement those projects. These teams are generally comprised of members that are familiar with the processes and are typically led by GBs (Harry, 2000). A successful implementation of SSP in an organization may require a significant percentage of the organization’s workforce, about 25% to 50%, to become GBs (Gitlow et al., 2006). Gitlow et al. (2006) argued that by becoming certified, GBs gain a clear understanding of what their responsibilities should be and the lack of this understanding would hinder their ability to lead project teams. Despite the benefits of GB certification and its essentiality for successful implementation of SSP, a significant number of professionals may attend GB certification training, but still elect not to become GB certified.

The certification challenge is even more daunting in Information System (IS) environment due to significant number of certifications available to IS professionals – with more than 400 reported in 1999 (Roy & McCoy, 2000), and their weak intention to become certified. The weak intention to become certified among IS professionals can then have adverse effects and pose challenges to successful implementation of SSP in the IS field since candidates without certification would be unable to carry out their responsibilities as the project team leaders (Gitlow et al., 2006). This may cause additional inefficiencies in processes resulting in increased cost and time to deliver a product or a service.

In this study, we investigated the GB candidates’ perceived responsibility factors of reducing inefficiencies in IS processes and their role in GB candidates’ intention to acquire SSP certification. Our efforts were focused on discovering and grouping the perceived responsibility so we can better understand the key factors behind such list of responsibility. As individuals who are GB certified are key to the success of any SSP in IS service organization or unit, uncovering what group of responsibilities (i.e., factor) has a significant contribution to ones decision to become GB certified is highly warranted. As such, the aim of our study was to address the following research questions:

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