Exploring the role of lean managers within the Toyota supply network: Evidence from a social media platform

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This paper seeks to investigate how effective lean managers are at developing a highly skilled workforce that is trained in lean manufacturing skills. We draw upon upper echelon theory to explore the extent to which inter-firm executive relationships to different stakeholders have moderating effects on the relationship between lean managers and lean manufacturing skills. Our hypotheses are examined using data from a social media platform used by employees working at firms in Toyota’s supplier association, together with multivariate regression and endogeneity analysis. We identify that lean managers are associated with a significant increase in the number of workers with lean manufacturing skills. The moderation analysis reveals that inter-firm executive relationships to Toyota and its suppliers have negative and positive moderating effects on the ability of lean managers to develop skilled workers. However, executive relationships to organisations outside the supplier association have no significant moderating effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
JournalProduction Planning and Control
VolumePublished in 2021 [ABS 3 Journal]
Early online date4 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2021


  • Lean manufacturing
  • Toyota’s supplier association
  • employee skills
  • inter-firm executive relationships
  • lean managers
  • social media platform


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