Some scholars consider lean production as a technical system, while others claim that people’s involvement is crucial for its implementation and define continuous training and direct participation as highly relevant practices, whose fea-tures are, however, often overlooked. At the same time, it needs to be understood if trade unions still play an important role in carrying out workers’ consent and what type of involvement, from information to participation in decision-making, turn out to be relevant. By analyzing seven medium- and large-sized firms, the study advances the organizational literature on lean production from two points of view. First, the article shows that practices of continuous training and direct participation covered a relevant role to favour lean production application. At the same time, the data pointed out that continuous training should be based on the strict integration of theoretical and practical training. In the case of direct participation, the frequency and subjects of the related tools turned out to be more relevant than monetary incentives. Second, union involvement in the process of lean implementation was needed to develop workers’ consent, which was in turn necessary to activate the practices inquired. Information procedures reassuring unions and workers about the content of the organizational change were sufficient to spur labour consent.
Keywords: Company’s organization, lean production, continuous training, direct participation, trade union, employee consent.