During the conference of the Academy of Management in Vancouver (Canada), doctoral degree candidate Desirée van Dun and her thesis supervisor Prof Celeste Wilderom PhD (IGS) have received the so-called Best Student Paper award in the field of Operations Management. The award is intended for the best academic paper in this research area, that has been submitted for this congress (with over 12,000 visitors and 2,000 presentations). The annual Academy of Management conference is considered worldwide as the most prestigious academic conference in the field of management research.
The paper, entitled Governing Highly Performing Lean Team Behaviors: A Mixed-Methods Longitudinal Study, was unanimously elected by the jury as the best (in two rounds). In the paper, the researchers have followed five teams on the work floor in the course of three years. At the start, all teams were operating in a highly effective manner according to the lean-principles: a way of working with which employees continuously improve their business processes by eliminating any form of waste and by creating more value for the clients. In the paper, the scholars show, among other things, which specific behaviours by senior management and their team leaders are of great impact to the teams' objective performance. Excellent team accomplishments are highly dependent on managers' visibility on the work floor, an unwavering and crystal clear strategic course and structure, as well as financial investments in lean by the organisation. As a result of the senior management's support, the effective teams are shown to develop a specific behavioural pattern of continuous improvement. By means of detailed coded video-based observations, the researchers also lay bare which behavioural patterns can be found in sustainably effective lean teams. One of the things highlighted by the jury was that the research in the paper really tie in with the context of day-to-day activities. The reviewers praised the many creative ways in which the doctoral-degree candidate had collected her data.
Celeste Wilderom and Desirée van Dun now intend to publish the conference paper in a top journal in the field of management. Desirée van Dun, who is also a senior organisation specialist at House of Performance, graduated from the UT and expects to obtain her doctoral degree also at the University of Twente on 11 December this year.