Business School Educ LO5982

John Woods (
Tue, 5 Mar 1996 06:13:33 -0600 (CST)

Replying to LO5949 --

John Warfield writes about fads in management and recommends two articles
on this subject:

>Two articles discuss this phenomenon (without using the colorful name that
>I have cited above, which some regard as offensive. Both of them are in
>the Wiley journal Systems Research 12(1), March, 1995:
>Michael C. Jackson (a fellow Brit): Beyond the Fads: Systems Thinking
>for Managers, 25-42.
>Russell Ackoff (not a fellow Brit): Whole-ing the Parts and Righting the
>Wrongs, 43-46.

Let me call to your attention a book on this subject that you might
interesting as well:

Eileen Shapiro, Fad Surfing in the Boardroom: Reclaiming the Courage to
Manage in the Age of Instant Answers, Addison-Wesley, 1995.

She runs through several fads, showing that they all have some use until
we start looking at them as a panacea. In fact, I think we should not
overlook the fact that fads are usually based on some useful techniques
for better understanding what's going on in an organization and taking
some actions. However, we have this great tendency and desire for instant
answers and silver bullets that will solve all our problems. They don't
exist. Any idea will turn in on itself if taken to its logical
conclusion, which it seems we like to do.

I might point out that we also have this tendency to take great insights
like TQM (which for me is an umbrella term that takes in learning
organizations and lots of other ideas as well) and turn it into a fad,
applying its suggested techniques mindlessly, never appreciating the
systems view on which it is based. What we must push for are not instant
answers, but well considered questions. And it might be good if a lot of
these questions centered around relationships and processes and the
delivery of value to customers.

Thanks for the citations on the above articles, John. I will try to find

John Woods

-- (John Woods)

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