The Path to Sustainability
INTRODUCTION In this chapter, we introduce the improvement imperative from an operations management perspective. This introduction sets up some of the underlying background so that the depth of the perspective is clear. We develop the contention that operations is a contributor to organizational performance and that improvement has a particular meaning. Then, we extend the process of strategic improvement to the inter-organizational and network settings and we introduce the concept of collaborative strategic improvement. We conclude the chapter with a clear outline of the need to introduce organizational learning and action learning into the frame in order to achieve sustainability of learning and improvement. STRATEGIC OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT: GETTING MORE FROM LESS TODAY AND TOMORROW The working of an operation has always been an enigma. On the one hand, the operation is a visible part of the organization where people or equipment can be seen to be working away and where something happens. On the other hand, the operation will neither come right nor stay right of its own accord. Answers to the following questions are not obvious: ● ● ● ● What makes it work as it does? Could it work better in its current form? What different forms could it take and still get the same result? What market, internal or environmental change would cause most disruption to the working of the operation, and with what knock-on effects? Behind such questions (and the associated learning potential) is an established body of programmed knowledge, the discipline of operations management. Teaching in the London Business...
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