Führungskommunikation in lean-orientierten Unternehmen : zum Verhältnis von Theorie und Praxis - eine kommunikationswissenschaftliche Studie

  • Leadership communication in lean-oriented companies

Marso-Walbeck, Kirstin; Jakobs, Eva-Maria (Thesis advisor); Ziefle, Martina (Thesis advisor)

1. Auflage. - Aachen : Apprimus Verlag (2018)
Book, Dissertation / PhD Thesis

In: Edition Wissenschaft Apprimus
Page(s)/Article-Nr.: 163

Dissertation, RWTH Aachen University, 2018


On the relationship between theory and practice - a communication studies surveyIn linguistics and communication studies there are numerous approaches for the collection, analysis and description of different areas of internal and external corporate communications. The development of concepts, models and recommendations is partly based on authentic data collected in operational practice. The collection of such data is often difficult, because many companies fear that the survey will interfere with internal workflows and / or they are reluctant to reveal “real data” of running processes. This applies especially to leadership communication. Therefore, the research situation in this subarea still offers potential, which this dissertation attempts to present in excerpts. Communication determines the work routine of executives - as Spranz-Fogasy (2002, 225f.) has shown exemplary - and can be described as a highly interactive process of rapidly changing partners, topics, situations and media. Asking executives about their communication behavior shows that they have firm assumptions of their communication work as well as related problems and potentials. The present dissertation project starts at this particular point. Object of investigation is the communicative behavior of executives in companies. The field of observation is limited to lean-oriented organisations. The decision is based on the fact that the concept of intensive communication is one of the basic assumptions of the lean management approach - an engineering based leadership model. The lean management approach rests on organisational forms that have been developed with great success in Japanese industry in the 1950s. The approach was basically described and developed in studies of James P. Womack, Daniel T. Jones and Daniel Roos and its principles and methods determine to this day the organisation of production and work in many manufacturing plants in Asia, the United States and Europe. In the literature of engineering science communication is described as an important management tool of executives of lean-oriented companies (Womack et al. 1991). Comparing theory and practice of lean-oriented communicative action reveals that executives lack an explicit awareness of the role of communication in their approach - that is one of the initial theses of this work. Causes of this are assumed amongst others in culture-bound aspects of the concept application. Thus, it is supposed that the originally American respectively Japanese coined lean management approach premises a role perception of executives as well as a communicative requirement profile, which coincides only in parts with the one of European, especially German, managers. This includes amongst others ideas and communicative practices of involving the employees of the company. Other causes are seen in the fact that the lean management literature more or less implies communication as an essential means of achieving goals, but largely ignores the functions of communicative action and the way of implementing them, that is the manner of linguistic action. This is not surprising insofar as the lean management literature is essentially characterised by engineering and economic points of view. First of all linguistic and communication science approaches to corporate communications are considered and the essential aspects for the work are exposed. In addition, the main features of the lean management approach and its communicative principles are presented. In the present work, the reconstruction of ideas about the role of communication in the lean management approach is consistently carried out from the point of view of the involved persons on communicative parts of management tasks as well as on requirements which frame these parts and can be justified with communicative lean management principles.Methodically, the dissertation is based on a survey of six executives from lean-oriented companies in the manufacturing industry. The investigation focuses on the following leading questions: How is communication of executives in lean-oriented companies designed? Which approaches and models does linguistic research provide in the area of corporate communications? How is communication and communicative action of executives presented in the lean management approach? Which share does communication take in everyday life and in the accomplishment of management tasks in lean-oriented companies and how does this look like? Which communicative principles of the lean management approach are known by executives in lean-oriented companies and how do they use them? The aim of this work is to analyse the role and importance of communication for the above named target group on a data basis, to deduce from the results a need for action for research, in companies and for executive training and thus provide a communication science based contribution to the engineering-based approach of lean management. This contribution focuses on demonstrating facets, features and criteria for the formulation of a lean management approach, which complements current research and discussion. Literature: Spranz-Fogasy, Thomas (2002): „Was macht der Chef? - Der kommunikative Alltag von Führungskräften in der Wirtschaft". In: Becker-Mrotzek, Michael/Fiehler, Reinhard (Hrsg.): Unternehmenskommunikation. Tübingen: Narr.209-230.Womack, James P./ Jones, Daniel T./ Roos, Daniel (1991): Die zweite Revolution in der Autoindustrie. Konsequenzen aus der weltweiten Studie des Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Frankfurt am Main: Campus Verlag.