Abstract: The aim of this paper is to propose a classification of the barriers of continuous improvement and identify the different profiles of companies based on it. First, a literature review was done in order to identify the main barriers; second, some of them were included in a survey based on experts? opinions; third, a survey was conducted among people responsible for implementing continuous improvement; and finally factorial and cluster analysis were applied. Based on the results, two main factors were identified: ?pre-implementation barriers? and ?during implementation barriers?. Additionally, four clusters were analysed ?informal companies?, ?disoriented companies?, ?unaware companies? and ?slightly-hindered companies?. As many companies still struggle when implementing continuous improvement, the results of this study can help all them to focus on the most important aspects in order to guarantee the sustainability of the continuous improvement system. From a theoretical point of view, this work contributes to the continuous improvement field by analysing the nature of the main barriers companies can find when implementing these initiatives. Thus, not only does this study provide a hierarchy of the most important barriers, but also classifies them. As far as authors are concerned, this is the first attempt to categorise continuous improvement barriers.
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