In addition to his DBA from Grenoble Ecole de Management, Rafael Rojas holds a MBA from the University of California Irvine and a Lean and Six Sigma certification. He has 17 years of industry experience in engineering, manufacturing, service, and operations management in various industries. He joined Providence Saint Joseph Health 11 years ago and currently serves as the Regional Lean Coach.
Recent findings on the benefits of mindfulness present an opportunity to further develop the team learning literature and expand the understanding of its effects in the workplace setting. This study introduces mindfulness in team learning processes and examines this concept as a moderator at two theoretical levels. First, mindfulness is conceptualized at the individual level and is associated as a trait of the team leader with the aim to further understand the effects of mindfulness in the role of the team leader and in the team learning process. Second, at the group level, team mindfulness is aligned with theory developed on collective mindfulness with the goal of establishing empirical evidence and extending existing theoretical research. Moreover, the team learning literature calls for advancing research by studying team leader behaviors in team learning processes because: (a) little research has been conducted on the empowering leadership style of team leaders in relation to a team learning environment and (b) due to the need to expand empirical evidence of teams in complex dynamic settings. Accordingly, the objective of this study is twofold: first, it seeks to explore the effects of mindfulness of the team leader (individual level) and the improvement team (team level) in team learning processes; and second, to further understand the role of an empowering leadership style on the implementation of new practices. This research follows the Input-Mediator-Outcome-Input framework to explore how team leader empowering behavior affects improvement project implementation through team psychological safety and team improvement activities. The context of this research is in organizations that have demonstrated consistent commitment to the implementation of Lean Management Systems in the health care industry. Given the multilevel characteristics of the theoretical concepts, the hypotheses are studied using a multilevel structured equation model approach (MSEM) with the support of MPLUS software. This research contributes to the team learning literature, offers novel insights of mindfulness in the workplace, and expands our understanding of the team learning process through a multilevel analysis. On a practical level, given that organizations are more commonly depending on teams to navigate through rapid change, and that businesses are increasingly relying on improvement methodologies to realize a competitive advantage, this study points to leadership behaviors that result in the effective implementation of change.
Keywords: deliberate learning, lean, mindfulness, process improvement, team learning, team psychological safety, collective mindfulness