'Lean' in the UK Civil Service: from the theory of improvement to the varied realities of costs cutting

Douglas Martin
2016 La Nouvelle Revue du Travail  
With major cuts in public spending, the UK Civil Service has increasingly used 'lean' as a means of organizational restructuring. Two large central government departments used a variety of 'lean' techniques and tools to improve the efficiency of the workforce. Departmental management supported the use of lean with an apparently consistent and standardised approach to the restructuring of work. By contrast, lean was used in an inconsistent fashion at workplace level. Using data from civil
more » ... a from civil servants in local government offices, four different variants of lean were evident. The variations in practice show how lean was used to systematise work to achieve performance targets in the context of reduced resources. The significance of lean relates to the extent that its use can be embedded, abandoned, adapted or replicated to achieve performance targets against a background of significant cuts in staff.
doi:10.4000/nrt.3117 fatcat:mshwvdoduvghtahiqj74ducgoy