What's in a fashion? Interpretative viability and management fashions

J Benders*, K van Veen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

268 Citations (Scopus)


Building and reacting on the most influential article on the topic, namely, 'Management Fashion' by Abrahamson (Academy of Management Review 21(1), 1996), we propose that management fashions are best conceptualized as 'the production and consumption of temporarily intensive management discourse, and the organizational changes induced by and associated with this discourse'. This conceptualization allows us to take account of 'interpretative viability', a certain degree of ambiguity about a fashion's content, and ifs consequences for the dynamics involved in the ongoing shaping and reshaping of a concept's connotations. Our arguments are illustrated by drawing on a variety of empirical work on Business Process Reengineering in the Netherlands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-53
Number of pages21
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2001


  • interpretative viability management fashion
  • organization concepts

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