Innovation and hybridization: Managing the introduction of lean production into Volvo do Brazil

T. Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Although the influential group located at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have argued that “teamwork” is at the heart of the lean factory; more recent works have identified “innovation” as the major driver “of growth in free market economies”. Others have gone further in suggesting that the global business environment has so fundamentally changed that it is the demands of the knowledge economy that are the crucial challenge to global organisations. They identify “tomorrow's winners” as those organisations able to “search out and mobilize untapped pockets of technology and market intelligence” to add significant value to their operations. In this paper two of these “global practices” are analyzed in terms of the management of their introduction at the Curitiba plant of Volvo do Brazil. First, the development of team-based forms of work organization is analyzed within the context of the changing nature of patterns of global human resource development. Secondly, the increasing utilization of lean production techniques is located within the context of the development of a global production strategy within the Volvo Truck Company. This paper attempts an understanding of the nature of the relationship between team-based forms of work and lean production within a framework which recognizes the increasing importance of organisations attached to innovation – in the sense of a hybrid system of learning from the best practice of other organisations. In doing so it will assess how far we can claim the presence of a new production paradigm being developed within the plant.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-819
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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