Graduate Students Co-Author Article on Social Barriers to Operational Excellence with Professors

by Public Relations | Jul 11, 2018

July 11, 2018

Dr. Michael J. Urick, graduate director of the master of science in management: Operational Excellence (MSMOE) program and associate professor of management and operational excellence at Saint Vincent College; Dr. Terrance Smith, executive director of the Kennametal Center for Operational Excellence (KCOE), Muyang Li, C’2016, G’2017, a recent MSMOE alumna; and Selin Konur, a second year MSMOE student, co-authored an article entitled, “Social Barriers to Implementing Continuous Improvement Initiatives: A Qualitative Exploration,” published in the Journal of Management for Global Sustainability.

The article was originally the idea of Li and Konur during the fall of 2017. At the time, Li was taking a course on research methods and Konur was studying as a research assistant. Both Li and Konur approached Smith and Urick with their idea who helped guide the research in a collaborative process.

The article details social barriers to operational excellence, which is a management philosophy focused on waste reduction, continuous improvement and problem-solving, and includes interpersonal issues such as communication challenges, unwillingness to change and workplace relationships as well as organizational issues such as employee treatment, cultural values and formal organizational characteristics, and links sustainability to operational excellence. The overarching theme is that the greatest barriers to becoming more sustainable are likely social in nature. This is unique because most previous research on operational excellence focuses on tools or process as barriers to implementing continuous improvement effectively. This is one of the first studies to suggest that social elements of the workplace are equally if not more important along the path to adopting continuous improvement.

Since 2015, nearly a dozen MSMOE students and faculty have collaborated to publish or present five different research projects in peer-reviewed channels and one additional publication has been accepted in upcoming academic journals which will be published later this fall.

The MSMOE was ranked as one of the best non-MBA business graduate programs in 2018 by U.S. News and World Report as well as ranked in Value College’s two most recent rankings as a “Best Value” Master in Management Program.


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