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Sarah Lethbridge

Miss Sarah Lethbridge

Pro Dean of External Engagement

Cardiff Business School Postgraduate Teaching Centre, Room 3.01, Colum Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF10 3EU
Media commentator


My job is to connect outside organisations to the wonderful work of Cardiff Business School.  We are keen to hear about your challenges and successes to see how our research could potentially help you and how your experiences can inform our research.  We have a vibrant business community network which is free to be part of - please join us to find out more!

I am an expert in lean and continuous improvement, joining the School in 2005 as a Senior Researcher within the Lean Enterprise Research Centre.  There I worked on numerous lean projects in hospitals, universities and public and private services.  My lean work specialises in helping to develop the knowledge and self sufficiency of Continuous Improvement teams and I have worked with Nestlé, the Ministry of Justice's Lean Academy, their Shared Service Centre in Newport, the Value for Money team in the Home Office, Legal and General, Principality Building Society, Hugh James and most recently Thomas Carroll, to ensure that organisations approach lean in a holistic, sustainable way. I love working with organisations to help them to embrace Continuous Improvement and take pride in providing them with all of the knowledge and confidence they need to be self sufficient.

My research passion is to explore the interconnection of lean concepts and tools, helping people to understand how all of the lean ideas, support and inform each other and to also understand how Continuous Improvement continues to evolve.  See my blog, which I update regularly, to hear my latest thoughts. Sarah Lethbridge's Lean Blog - Cardiff University

You can also watch me talk about how useful lean was in the pandemic below:

Leaning into the Crisis





  • Bateman, N. and Lethbridge, S. 2013. Managing operations and teams visually. In: Bell, E., Warren, S. and Schoeder, J. E. eds. The Routledge companion to visual organization. Routledge Companions in Business, Management and Accounting London: Routledge, pp. 306-321.





  • Lethbridge, S., Bateman, N. and Francis, M. 2007. Visual management for an Academic Research Centre.. Presented at: British Academy of Management Conference 2007, Warwick, UK, 11-13 September 2007.
  • Hines, P., Lethbridge, S. and O'Grady, L. C. 2007. Creating a lean university. Presented at: 12th International Symposium on Logistics (12th ISL), Budapest, Hungary, 8-10 July 2007 Presented at Pawar, K. S., Lalwani, C. S. and Muffatto, M. eds.Proceedings of the 12th International Symposium on Logistics (ISL 2007): Developing Sustainable Collaborative Supply Chains, Budapest, Hungary, 8-10 July 2007. Nottingham, UK: Centre for Concurrent Enterprise, University of Nottingham Business School pp. 38-43.


Book sections

  • Lethbridge, S. 2019. Cardiff University. A Lean university or a better university?. In: Yorkstone, S. ed. Global Lean for Higher Education: A Themed Anthology of Case Studies, Approaches and Tools. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 329-342.
  • Bateman, N. and Lethbridge, S. 2013. Managing operations and teams visually. In: Bell, E., Warren, S. and Schoeder, J. E. eds. The Routledge companion to visual organization. Routledge Companions in Business, Management and Accounting London: Routledge, pp. 306-321.
  • Hamer, R. and Lethbridge, S. 2010. Seeing shared work within a system. In: Zokaei, A. K., Seddon, J. and O'Donovan, B. eds. Systems Thinking: From Heresy to Practice: Public and Private Sector Studies. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 67-83.



Research Interests

  • Visual Management and how it improves organisational effectiveness
  • The link between lean thinking and entrepreneurship
  • Translating manufacturing lean concepts into service contexts  - adopt, adapt or create new ideas?
  • Interconnection of lean concepts
  • Understanding how lean programmes evolve and managing their evolution
  • Leadership and Lean


  • Director of Executive MBA
  • Expert Lean Programmes
  • Service Lean Programmes
  • Service Design
  • Systems Thinking
  • Continuous Improvement Methodologies
  • Introduction to Lean


Pro Dean of External Engagement

  • Developing key relationships with organisations to ensure that our research and teaching remains cutting edge and has impact

Director of Executive Education and External Relations

  • Design and Development of bespoke executive education programmes for Hugh James, Acuity Law, Bisley, Companies House, Vietnamese Universities and many more
  • Creation of Breakfast Briefing series

Director of Executive Education

  • Design and development of bespoke executive education programmes for China Scholarship Council, ACMA India, Nestlé, Principality Building Society,  PA Consulting, Rabobank, Target Loans, SERCO, Legal and General, Ministry of Justice, Home Office, Merseyside Police, Cardiff Council, Manchester City Council and more.

Lean Services Manager

  • Organiser of the Public Sector Lean Thinktank
  • Organiser of Lean Thinking in Universities Conference

Senior Researcher

  • Understanding the application of lean thinking in the service sector

Previous Experience

  • Enterprise Manager for Coleg Gwent
  • Enterprise Project Manager for University of Wales College, Newport
  • National Insurance Contributions Office Revenue Officer
  • DVLA administration

Honours and awards

2014 British Academy of Management: Best Full Paper - Organisation Transformation, Change and Development.