Systematic literature review of critical success factors for continuous improvement projects

Fernando Gonzalez Aleu, Eileen M. Van Aken

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The aim of this paper is to synthesize and assess the published literature relating to critical success factors for continuous improvement projects (CIPs). Design/methodology/approach: A systematic literature review (SLR) was conducted to obtain the most relevant papers from four platforms: EBSCOhost, Engineering Village, ProQuest and Web of Science. The literature was assessed and synthesized based on analysis of characteristics relating to publications, authors and the content of publications. Findings: From the SLR, 98 publications were identified and analyzed. One primary finding is that this research area appears to demonstrate characteristics of an emerging field, not yet well established across all relevant aspects. Second, a comprehensive set of 53 factors were extracted from the publications identified. These factors were analyzed according to frequency in the published literature. This set of factors can be used in future empirical research to develop a more complete understanding of the relative contribution of each to influencing CIP success. Research limitations/implications: The SLR methodology does not guarantee that all of the publications related to a given research area will be identified; however, the researchers took different actions to mitigate this limitation. Further, not all relevant information from the publication set could be included in this work because of space constraints. Originality/value: To the authors’ knowledge, this paper presents the most comprehensive list of factors, and associated definitions, relevant to CIP success.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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