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Managers play a critical role in process improvement. However, research has found that many improvement efforts fail due to insufficient management involvement. Less is known, however, about mechanisms to foster managers' involvement and their impact on organizational climate, which predicts successful outcomes. The authors addressed this gap with a field experiment suggested by Toyota's problem solving process. Providing feedback about actions taken negatively impacted frontline workers' perceptions. Qualitative results suggest that communication can backfire when managers go through the motions of process improvement activities without making a sincere effort to resolve staff concerns.
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