A systematic literature review of lean six sigma adoption in European organizations

Nikolaos A. Panayiotou, Konstantinos E. Stergiou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to review of the literature about lean six sigma (LSS) implementation in European organizations written by academics or practitioners from European institutions to extract useful conclusions about LSS adoption in European companies and to suggest direction for future research concerning the broader LSS application in them. Design/methodology/approach: This study has been conducted by reviewing 58 papers, found in top journals, coming from European institutions that present studies of European companies and fulfill the selected inclusion criteria. Findings: The analysis of the literature revealed the level of penetration of the LSS methodology in organizations of each European country. The study of the papers revealed the sectors and the size of companies that are more active in LSS application, the method used in each project, the tools which are deployed and the interconnection between LSS and other topics through the project implementation. Research limitations/implications: The limited access provided by the authors’ institution only to three major publishers (Emerald, Elsevier, Taylor and Francis) and the focus of the search only in European organizations were the main limitations of this review. Practical implications: This paper provides both academics and practitioners with valuable insights about LSS implementation in European organizations, presenting a complete analysis framework of the literature and highlighting gaps for further research. Originality/value: An extended and detailed analysis of LSS adoption in Europe has not been conducted before. This review presents a clear view about how LSS projects in European organization have been applied so far and suggests ways of how the literature could be enriched to facilitate the LSS implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-292
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of Lean Six Sigma
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Continuous improvement
  • Europe
  • Future research
  • Lean six sigma
  • Systematic literature review


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