Metacognition-based process improvement practices

Young Sik Cho, Kevin Linderman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


While cognition is the knowledge structure used by people to make an assessment or decision, metacognition is the higher-order process controlling that existing knowledge structure. Thus, the functional role of metacognition in process improvement practices (PIP) is quite different from the role of cognition. Metacognition has been studied in several disciplines, including education, psychology, and neuroscience; however, research has yet to address the role of metacognition in an operations management context. Thus, the present study explored how a process improvement leader's metacognitive awareness influences PIP effectiveness. A survey was conducted with process improvement leaders from U.S.-based firms. Results revealed that managerial metacognition was positively related to adaptive PIP performance within the organization. There was also a positive synergistic relationship between managerial metacognition and PIP implementation on a firm's competitive advantage. We discussed practical and theoretical implications as well as future research agendas for how managerial metacognitive skills can be utilized for advantageous operational activities. This study not only contributes to the operations literature by providing new insights into the relationship between psychological and methodological mechanisms in PIP implementation but also provides the first step toward theory-building in terms of metacognition concepts in operations management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-144
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Production Economics
StatePublished - May 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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