Digitalization in Lean Manufacturing Firms: A Cumulative Capability Development Perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the digitalization of operational processes and
activities in lean manufacturing firms and explore the associated learning implications through the
lens of cumulative capability theory.
Design/methodology/approach: Adopting a multiple-case design, we examine four cases of digitalization
initiatives within lean manufacturing firms. We collected data through semi-structured
interviews and direct observations during site visits.
Findings: The study uncovers the development of learning capabilities as a result of integrating
lean and digitalization. We find that digitalization in lean manufacturing firms contributes to the
development of both routinized- and evolutionary learning capabilities in a cumulative fashion.
Originality/value: The study adds nuance to the limited theoretical understanding of the integration
of lean and digitalization by showing how it cumulatively develops learning capabilities of
lean manufacturing firms. As such, the study supports the robustness of cumulative capability theory.
We further contribute to research by offering empirical support for the cumulative nature of
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-54
Number of pages54
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2 Feb 2024

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