Handbook of Research on Management Ideas and Panaceas
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Handbook of Research on Management Ideas and Panaceas

Adaptation and Context

Edited by Anders Örtenblad

Over time management ideas and panaceas have been presented alternately as quick fix cures for all corporate ills and the emperor’s new clothes, beset by flaws and problems. This Handbook provides a different approach, suggesting that management ideas and panaceas should not be either adopted or rejected outright, but gives guidance in the art of assessing and applying management ideas and panaceas to various situations and contexts.
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Chapter 22: Management reforms as fashion? Critical remarks from a philosophy of science perspective

Hans Petter Saxi


Like other perspectives in the social sciences, the management fashion perspective is a social construction heavily influencing what we see, what we ignore, and how we judge what we observe. At its best, perspectives, theories and models can help us to focus on specific aspects of the phenomenon that we investigate. However, scientific perspectives and models are always one-sided, and can at their worst function as prejudging criteria. The chapter presents the management of fashion perspective as a school of thought, and points to three shortcomings: First, a lack of focus on actors, which reduces the managers and reformers to management fashion followers. If this perspective is given universal impact, the consequences are that management fashions spread without actors. Secondly, the management fashion perspective does not allow for practice. This shortcoming is basically a result of the lack of actors. Thirdly, some scholars using the management fashion perspective seem to analyze management reforms as just linguistic renewal, with an accidental relationship to reality.

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