An empirical study on Lean and its impact on sustainability in services

Fabiane Letícia Lizarelli, Ayon Chakraborty*, Jiju Antony, Sandy Furterer, Maher Maalouf, Matheus Borges Carneiro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Lean implementation has become popular over the past three decades in the industry and is becoming more prevalent in, service organizations. The objective of this study is to evaluate the impact of social and technical Lean practices on sustainable performance (i.e. economic, environmental and social) in service organizations.


The methodology includes the analysis of global results obtained from 139 managers from the service sector.


The results demonstrate that Lean practices have a positive effect on the three perspectives of sustainable performance, regardless of the company size and duration of Lean implementation. Furthermore, both social and technical Lean practices have a similar impact on environmental and economic performance, but their impact on social performance differs, since social Lean practices have a stronger impact on social performance.

Practical implications

This study has a significant contribution to Lean practitioners in service sectors, as it demonstrates that efforts to apply Lean practices can benefit economic results as well as environmental and social performance.


Majority of existing studies focused on the isolated impact of Lean on one of the triple bottom line performance aspects and with a scarcity of studies within the context of services. The intersection of these three strategic areas – Lean, sustainability and services – has not been extensively addressed. There is also a lack of studies that observe sustainability in environmental, social and economic performance, mainly in the service sector.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)805-825
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Quality and Reliability Management
Issue number3
Early online date4 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2024

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