Four views on management fashions: ... or the added value of old wine in new bottles

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The last two decades, the knowledge field around management issues has shown a process of commercialisation. In this field, all kinds of new concepts are launched and demand attention. In fact, concepts such as BPR and TQM are often criticised for being fashionable. In this article, four different views on management fashions will be discussed and validated with empirical results. First of all, management concepts keep the management world busy by moving their attention between different extremes. The attention of managers swings like a pendulum from one extreme tot the next. Evidence is shown, by discussing diversification versus Core Competence strategies. Second, management concepts add something to the collective knowledge base of the management world. Different examples were given which prove this point. Third, management concepts are like `old wine in new bottles’. Some evidence was suggested. However, it is also discussed that this argument does not make these concepts less relevant. The added value should be judged at a collective level, not on an individual one. Finally, attention was given to the view that concepts are mere nonsense. Some examples have been presented. The article concludes with the remark that each of the visions might be valid in its own right, but that validity of the argument is strongly determined by the social context in which it was made. The usefulness of the concepts is hard to judge based purely on their inherent qualities. Much of their qualities lie in the use of the concepts, not in the concepts themself. And finally, their value should not be underestimated in terms of their potential role in keeping the collective knowledge base around management issues alive.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationGroningen
PublisherUniversity of Groningen, SOM research school
Number of pages48
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Publication series

NameSOM Research Reports

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