Knowledge Sharing and Lean Manufacturing in Companies: An Empirical Investigation


  • Justyna Maria Myszak Department of Logistics, Institute of Management, University of Szczecin



knowledge sharing, Lean Manufacturing, production companies, formal and informal knowledge sharing, codification and personalization strategies, broad and deep knowledge


Manufacturing companies seeking to be competitive in the market must, in particular, accomplish time saving through precisely planned production processes. One of the main routes to reaching higher production efficiency is Lean Manufacturing (LM) by way of the methods and tools that it brings. However, the key to successful implementation of LM is the employees’ approach to knowledge sharing, an essential component for continuous improvement. This paper is an empirical study whose purpose is to answer the following question: Is knowledge sharing more widely adopted (and if so, how exactly) by companies who have implemented Lean Manufacturing, compared to those who have not?
As a result of literature studies, six types of knowledge sharing were identified, related to the way knowledge is shared (formal and informal knowledge sharing), knowledge sharing strategies (codification and personalization strategies) and the scope of knowledge that the company focuses on in its core business (broad and deep knowledge).
The relation between the use of LM and knowledge sharing types was examined based on a questionnaire survey conducted among 219 small, medium and large manufacturing enterprises operating in North-West Poland. The data analysis was performed using the ANOVA and post hoc tests.
The results demonstrated a significant correlation between the companies’ use of the Lean Manufacturing concept and certain types of knowledge sharing. In particular, it was observed that, compared to the other companies, the companies showing wider use of LM practiced formal ways of knowledge sharing, used the knowledge codification strategy, and were more focused on development and dissemination of broad rather than specialized knowledge. The results also demonstrated that the knowledge sharing approach adopted by the companies was largely determined by other approaches and management methods. It also means that the processes related to knowledge sharing are components of Lean Manufacturing solutions applied in practice.