Operational Excellence and Quality Improvement in Sweden



Quality Management and Operational Excellence have a long tradition in Sweden, embedded in national values of democracy and pragmatism. Early pioneers of Swedish Quality practice and research were Bo Bergman, Bengt Klefsjö and Lennart Sandholm. Today many researchers and practitioners carry the flame. Historically, Swedish products were well-known for high quality, today the quality work has been expanded into sustainability and societal satisfaction. It has been included in many parts of the processes of businesses and public organisations to the extent that Quality Management has often been incorporated in the normal way of working, sometimes making it almost invisible. Still the basic values of Quality Management are as important as ever: focus on customers (now expanded to the stakeholders of society), work with processes, base decisions on facts, improve continually and, last but not least in Sweden, let everybody be committed. All of these surrounded by management commitment and systems thinking.

This special issue highlights the current state of Operational Excellence in Sweden, looking at several different tools and practises, in several types of processes and organisations, giving examples and learnings from real applications in businesses and in public organisations. Not only success stories are presented but ‘what went well’, as well as ‘what did not’. Failure is a gold mine, as Juran said, and learning from mistakes is a very Swedish way of working, based in a culture of low prestige and to strive for continuous learning and innovation. Also, the level of digitalisation is high, as it can make processes faster and more reliable, and at the same time, facilitate customisation of products and services in a structured manner.
Furthermore, this issue also presents innovative research projects aiming for better ways of working in organisations, for a more sustainable future with more societal satisfaction..  

List of Topic Areas:

  • What Operational Excellence means in Sweden - differences and similarities to other countries
  • The tradition of Quality Management and Operational Excellence in Sweden
  • Current state of OPEX work in Swedish businesses - practices and results
  • Current state of OPEX work in Swedish public organisations - practices and results
  • How to work with OPEX in Sweden (focusing on one or more of: customer/society satisfaction, process management, base decisions on facts, continual improvement, management commitment and systems thinking)
  • Lessons learned from success and failure
  • Cultural aspects - quality culture, national culture, multi-national culture
  • Innovation and digitalisation; what have been done and ideas for the future
  • What's next in Sweden?

Guest Editors:

Peter Cronemyr, Senior Associate Professor of Quality Management, Linköping University, Sweden, [email protected]

Anders Fundin, Professor of Quality Management, Mälardalen University, Sweden, and Director of Research at SIQ – The Swedish Institute for Quality

Jason Martin, Associate Professor of Quality Management, Linköping University, Sweden

Submissions Information:

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Click here to submit!

Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see here

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to ““Please select the issue you are submitting to”. 

Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Key Deadlines:

Opening date for manuscripts submissions: 30th of June, 2023
Closing date for manuscripts submission: 31st of December, 2023