Simultaneous implementation of Six Sigma and knowledge management in hospitals

C. R. Gowen, G. N. Stock, K. L. McFadden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Six Sigma programmes aspire to reduce variation in organizational processes and achieve clear financial results. Six Sigma initiatives have proven to be an effective technique for improving quality in manufacturing. Similarly, the importance of knowledge management has grown considerably in recent years and has emerged as a major source of competitive advantage for manufacturing firms. From the perspective of a decision support system, knowledge management is concerned with information acquisition, dissemination, and responsiveness. Little research has examined simultaneous applications of Six Sigma and knowledge management. The purpose of this paper is to explore the usefulness of knowledge management for the implementation of Six Sigma in hospitals. We hypothesize that knowledge management will enhance the implementation of Six Sigma by leading to improvements of quality programme results and sustainable competitive advantage. The results of hierarchical regression analysis demonstrate that knowledge management does ameliorate the success of Six Sigma initiatives, specifically for knowledge dissemination and responsiveness. These results are discussed in terms of the contributions to existing theory and for managers of Six Sigma and knowledge management initiatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6781-6795
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Competitive advantage
  • Knowledge management
  • Six Sigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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