Multilayered triads in the context of lean management
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Purpose This paper aims to develop the existing theoretical concept of a triad by informing it with the activity-resource-actor (ARA) model in a new empirical context of lean management (LM). Design/methodology/approach This conceptual paper draws on the industrial marketing and purchasing (IMP) school of thought and the ARA model as theoretical lenses to inform research on triads in an LM context. Findings The authors find that closed buyer-supplier-supplier (BSS) and buyer-supplier-logistics service provider (BSL) triads, which we call “lean triads,” had a positive impact on LM. The authors display the drivers for closure – LM improvements (Table 2) and the properties of these “lean triads” (Figure 3). Research limitations/implications The paper focuses only on closed triads and is based on previous empirical studies. Practical implications The authors demonstrate to lean managers the drivers for connecting their partners in BSS and BSL triads and show the importance of developing relationships on three layers between all three actors in both triads to improve a firm’s lean performance. Originality/value The authors contribute to the discussion within the IMP school of thought on the value of triads by enriching the understanding of a triad concept with the ARA model, which compounds a concept of a multilayered triad in an LM context.