Negotiating Lean: The Fluidity and Solidity of New Management Technologies in the Danish Public Sector

Esben Rahbek Pedersen, Mahad Muniche

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyse how negotiations between the constituencies affect the processes and outcomes of lean projects in Danish public sector organisations.

    Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on a qualitative analysis of interviews with managers and employees who have participated in lean projects in the Danish public sector. Negotiated order theory serves as the overarching theoretical framework for the analysis.

    Findings – The paper concludes that the processes and outcomes of lean depend not only on the technology itself, but also the negotiation context in which the planning and implementation of lean projects take place. Lean implementation is not a neutral and value-free activity; it is fluid and open for multiple interpretations, interests, and logics.

    Research limitations/implications – The project is based on qualitative data from lean projects in the Danish public sector. It cannot be concluded that the findings can be generalised to reflect all types of lean projects across organisational and geographical settings.

    Originality/value – The paper adds value to the relatively scarce literature on lean management in the public sector by exploring how negotiative processes influence the planning, implementation, and maintenance/development of lean projects.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Journal of Productivity and Performance Management
    Issue number6
    Pages (from-to)550-566
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Lean Management
    • Implementation
    • Public Sector Organizations
    • Negotiated Order
    • Negotiating
    • Communication Management
    • Denmark

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