Deploying Six Sigma practices to General Electric subsidiaries in a developing economy: An empirical analysis
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management, 2018, 35 (2), pp. 446 - 462
- Issue Date:
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© 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate Six Sigma implementation in the subsidiaries of General Electric (GE) located in Brazil and to explore the role of the quality culture of headquarters in overcoming common obstacles to Six Sigma implementation reported by other studies. Design/methodology/approach: An exploratory survey was the basis for gathering data for this study. A structured questionnaire was developed covering issues related to Six Sigma implementation, such as experienced benefits, main outcomes, and metrics adopted by companies. Data from eight GE subsidiaries were qualitatively analyzed. The findings were discussed in the light of other studies conducted in Brazil as well as in other developing countries in the context of the role of existing quality culture in overcoming barriers to Six Sigma implementation. Findings: The findings revealed that Six Sigma at GE subsidiaries achieved better results in comparison with the results obtained by other Brazilian companies reported in the literature. GE quality culture aspects such as top management commitment, high investment in training, recognition schemes, and development of a well-planned infrastructure were identified as valuable to overcome common barriers to Six Sigma implementation. Moreover, the findings showed a strong alignment with the goals and practices of GE headquarters, which is an evidence of the quality culture that exists in GE and that allows all GE businesses achieve benefits with Six Sigma. Originality/value: Since limited empirical research has been conducted concerning Six Sigma implementation in developing countries, this paper aspires to contribute to Six Sigma body of knowledge by illustrating the practices of a world benchmark corporation.
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