Transformative Learning and Lean Six Sigma Programs: Adopting an All-Collar Approach

Transformative Learning and Lean Six Sigma Programs: Adopting an All-Collar Approach

Kimberley Gordon (University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, USA) and Kendall Ross (University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/IJAVET.2019070102

Abstract

In the competitive world of recruiting, the better an applicant can apply what has already been learned to a new environment, the greater the career opportunity. This study captured the transformative learning experience of students, guided by their instructors and industry partners, related to learning and executing Lean Six Sigma principles in a variety of environments. Lean Six Sigma principles which seek to reduce inefficiencies and thus improve the customer experience have long since been associated with manufacturing. Expanding the application of Lean Six Sigma from blue-collar settings to include white-collar and green-collar work provides students additional problem-solving approaches to process challenges in all-collar environments. Additionally, the experience aided students in viewing customers from both internal and external lenses, linked customer loyalty to organization success, and demonstrated the value such skills were to both personal career growth. Suggestions for faculty and recommendations for future studies are included.
Article Preview
Top

Introduction

In its 2019 report, SHRM reported 37% of 1028 respondents cited the greatest skills gap was a cluster of soft skills described as problem solving, critical thinking, and innovation and creativity. Internet searches produced countless listings for blue collar workers with key words that included Lean Six Sigma and Kaizen both of which are collection of tools created for improving performance. A job applicant perusing job listings would be hard-pressed to believe efficiency problems existed outside manufacturing. However, one could spend a single afternoon in the waiting room of a medical provider to realize inefficiencies aren’t limited to blue-collar environments. This realization that inefficiencies abounded led the instructional staff in a workforce development program to recast its association of Lean Six Sigma instruction to include not only traditional blue-collar industries, but white-collar and green-collar settings as well.

Learning for the workplace was most effective when learners had prior relevant knowledge and the objectives were transferrable to other environments. Learners actively sought knowledge in the traditional pedagogical environments, flourished in andragogically-structured learning activities, and gravitated towards incidental and recreational learning via public pedagogical opportunities. Combined, all three of these approaches afforded the learner healthy critical thinking skills which were invaluable in the workplace.

In the competitive world of recruiting, the better an applicant can apply what has already been learned to a new environment, the greater the career opportunity. This study captured the transformative learning experience of students, guided by their instructors and industry partners, related to learning and executing Lean Six Sigma principles in a variety of environments. Lean principles which seek to reduce inefficiencies and thus improve the customer experience, have long since been associated with manufacturing. However, expanding the application of Lean Six Sigma from blue-collar settings to include white-collar and green-collar work provided students additional problem-solving approaches to process challenges in all-collar environments. Additionally, the experience aided students in viewing customers from both internal and external lenses, linked customer loyalty to organization success, and demonstrated the value such skills were to personal and career growth.

Complete Article List

Search this Journal:
Reset
Open Access Articles: Forthcoming
Volume 10: 4 Issues (2019)
Volume 9: 4 Issues (2018)
Volume 8: 4 Issues (2017)
Volume 7: 4 Issues (2016)
Volume 6: 4 Issues (2015)
Volume 5: 4 Issues (2014)
Volume 4: 4 Issues (2013)
Volume 3: 4 Issues (2012)
Volume 2: 4 Issues (2011)
Volume 1: 4 Issues (2010)
View Complete Journal Contents Listing