Deconstructing management fad adoption: Towards a conceptual model

Pamela Mathews

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to propose that adoption of new ideas is a more involved cognitive process than has been recognised and this paper seeks to redress the trivialisation of ideas as emerging management ideas (“fads”). The embracing of “fads” for performance improvement and competitive advantage has received considerable attention in the academic literature, resulting in a rather one-sided view.
    Design/methodology/approach: Cognitive decision-making, evidence-based management and complexity theory are examined to illustrate cognitive process, skills and experiences used when making decisions and several propositions are derived from these ideas.
    Findings: An conceptual model of “fad” adoption, integrating the ideas and propositions is presented. This model provides a more pragmatic examination of “fad” adoption decisions and encourages an in depth consideration of their introduction. The model offers a more sophisticated, focused tool for examining the adoption of new management ideas and provides a springboard from which more detailed, integrated models can be developed, and hopefully will stimulate discussion. Implications for theory and practice are also considered.
    Originality/value: Examination of the literature on management “fads” revealed significant material that focused on the negative aspects of “fad” adoption, but an absence of material that examined how manager’s made their adoption decisions. This paper, therefore, provides a valuable contribution to both theory and practice by examining factors which contribute to how and why management decisions to adopt “fads” are made and develops a model to illustrate how these are integrated to contribute to the process of decision-making.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)302-319
    Number of pages18
    JournalInternational Journal of Organizational Analysis
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - May 2015


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