Work-Team Implementation and Trajectories of Manufacturing Quality: A Longitudinal Field Study

Rajiv D. Banker, Joy M. Field, Kingshuk K. Sinha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The study examines the sustainability of manufacturing quality improvements following the implementation of work teams on production lines. We posit that the impact on manufacturing quality, measured as the defect rate trajectory, is monotonically nonincreasing over time and may, more specifically, assume the shape of an inverted S-curve. Employing a longitudinal research design, we investigate four work teams over a 28-month period in a field setting. Each team corresponds to one of the four interconnected production lines in an electromechanical assembly plant operated by a Fortune 500 firm. Results of our empirical analysis support the sustainability of quality improvements associated with work team implementation and partially support the S-shaped trajectory as the particular form of sustainability. However, variations in the manufacturing quality trajectories reflect the characteristics of the work team and the production line on which each the team is instituted. From the standpoint of practice, this study highlights the importance of work-team design and implementation decisions, especially the need to be proactive in identifying and resolving initial implementation difficulties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-42
Number of pages18
JournalManufacturing and Service Operations Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Field study
  • Manufacturing quality
  • Work-teams


Dive into the research topics of 'Work-Team Implementation and Trajectories of Manufacturing Quality: A Longitudinal Field Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this