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Building on a prior case and field study work, the author developed a process improvement model. The proposed model includes four interdependent components-a systematic methodology to guide quality efforts, an environment conducive to change, empowerment mechanisms for the people who do the work, and information technology (IT) to facilitate automation. The model was used to contrast the process improvement approaches between U.S. and Japanese companies. Results included differences between process improvement approaches, management/worker roles, creativity, change visions, and work environments.