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Incremental changes and efficiency leaps in the improvement of internal effectiveness

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Abstract

Purpose – This paper highlights one of the limitations of the continuous improvement (CI) philosophy and contends that CI cannot go on forever. It further suggests that in order to further improve organizations need to increase the system boundary, and proposes ways of doing so. Design/methodology/approach – In order to highlight the limits of CI this paper describes a case study. Using a literature review, it further proposes nine ways of increasing system boundary. Findings – The first finding is that CI is not limitless and there is a logical point where CI cannot be economically justified. At that point, the possibility of increasing the system boundary is required. This paper proposes nine possible ways of expanding this boundary. Practical implications – The paper presents ways of bringing about radical improvements by increasing the system scope. These ways can be explored by practitioners to bring about major improvements, once incremental improvements have been exhausted. Originality/value – This paper presents ways for companies to explore radical improvement possibilities, once the incremental improvements have reached a level where they can no longer be financially justified.

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