Course syllabus


TEK231 Lean management 20 (7.5 hp)

Course is offered by the department of Technology Management and Economics

Contact details


  • Carl Wänström, Chalmers University of Technology, Division of Supply and Operations Management, 
Tel: 031-772 5156, email:


  • Elin Edén, Chalmers University of Technology, Division of Supply and Operations Management,
Tel: 031-772 1285, email: 
  • Lars Medbo, Chalmers University of Technology, Division of Supply and Operations Management, 
Tel: 031-772 1347, email:

Guest lecturer:

Course aim

The aim of the course is to give an understanding of lean philosophy, lean leadership and what characterizes a lean organizational culture.

Learning objectives and syllabus

  • explain concepts, strategies and principles of lean management
  • perform a value stream mapping, analyse a value stream map and design a future value stream map
  • compare lean leadership with traditional leadership models
  • explain daily kaizen and team work in a lean organisation
  • explain hoshin kanri in a lean organisation
  • explain how to perform a lean transformation process

Link to the syllabus on Studieportalen.

Study plan


  • Lean philosophy
  • Visual management
  • Continuous flows, pull vs. push, value stream mapping
  • Lean leadership and organisation
  • Team work and daily kaizen (continuous improvement)
  • Hoshin kanri
  • Lean transformation

Course design

The course is based on zoom lectures, videos, literature seminars and a value stream mapping project. The literature seminars and the value stream mapping project are compulsory and are used to strengthen the understanding of the materials presented during the zoom lectures and in the videos. Specialists, from academia and industry, will take part in the course. Further, the course contents are strongly related to industrial problems. 


There will be six compulsory literature seminars during the course. The literature for each seminar will be published two weeks ahead of the seminar on the course homepage.

Prior to the seminar

  • Register in a student group for the specific seminar on pingpong (project group).
  • Read the papers and/or book chapters assigned for the seminar.
  • Answer the provided seminar questions and hand in the file individually at the course homepage, approximately half a page for each question.
  • You should use all references if applicable (you will get rework if you only use one source, but several are appropriate)
  • Write one question on your own and hand-in seperately, that you like to discuss at the seminar. (Just the question, no answers.)
  • Use file format .pdf.
  • Note that your handed in document will be checked against a plagiarism using the tool “URKUND”.
    If ”URKUND” indicate PLAGIARISM, WE ARE OBLIGATED to send in an application to Chalmers Disciplinary Committee, so please be careful.
  • The correction will be anonymous so please do not write you name in the hand-in.
  • You are NOT allowed to participate in the seminar without having handed in a paper.

The seminar

  • The allocated time is 55 minutes.
  • In the seminar, the group together with the teachers will discuss the issues the group considered most important. This will be based on the questions suggested by the students.
  • Two students will lead the discussion. The students will be chosen, by the teacher, at the seminar.

After the seminar

  • After seminar 2-6, you will review two paper of your peers.
  • Your seminar papers will be graded as 3,4,5 or “rework required”. If you need to rework, you can't get a higher grade than 3 (except for seminar 1, where you can get a higher grade than 3 after rework).
  • In case of ”rework required”, you will have approximately one week to correct your answers.



Course literature

Scientific papers are used to treat specific topics, to be able to approach the research edge and for literature seminars. All papers will be downloadable from Chalmers Library. There will be chapters from three books, ”the Toyota Way to Lean Leadership” and ”Why motivating people doesn’t work” are available as eBook.

  1. Emiliani, M. L., & Stec, D. J. (2005). ”Leaders lost in transformation”. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 26(5), 370-378.
  2. Fowler, S. (2014). Why motivating people doesn't work ... and what does: the new science of leading, energizing, and engaging, Berrett-Koehler Publishers (abbrevation Mo in schedule)
  3. Hess, E.G., (2014), Learn or die - using science to build a leading-edge learning organization, Colombia business school publishing (abbrevation Lo in schedule)
  4. Hines, P., Holweg, M. and Rich, N. (2004). "Learning to evolve: A review of contemporary lean thinking". International Journal of Operations & Production Management 24(10): 994-1011. 
  5. Liker, J. K. and Convis, G. L. (2011), The Toyota way to lean leadership: achieving and sustaining excellence through leadership development, McGraw-Hill (abbreviation L in schedule )
  6. Liker, J.K. and Hoseus, M. (2008), Toyota culture: the heart and soul of the Toyota way, McGraw-Hill - (abbreviation Cu in schedule )


Individual assignments and a group project constitute the bases for examination, in order to achieve grade 3. Participation in course activities such as literature seminars, laboratory and project presentation are compulsory. All seminar hand-ins and project report will be graded 3,4,5. If you need to rework, you can't get a higher grade than 3 on the specific seminar hand-in or project report (except for seminar 1, where you can get a higher grade than 3 after rework).

Criteria for different grade

Grade 3 - Answering the questions using literature and individual reasoning

Grade 4 - All of grade 3 as well as clearly draws substantiated conclusions

Grade 5 - All of grade 3 and 4, and demonstrates high analytical ability and combines different sources together with discussion and substantiated conclusions

Course summary:

Date Details Due