Here is a nice enumeration of the big hits in
managerial enthusiasms over the last century. This list is lifted from
“Facing up to Management Faddism”
|Scientific Management||1900 – 1930||Process; one way to do things, efficency.|
|Administrative Management||1930s||division of labor functions, hierarchy.|
|Human Social Factors||1940s||Workers’ social needs are important for optimal motivation and productivity.|
|Beginning of True Faddism|
|Theory X and Theory Y||1950s||Authoritarian versus participatory management, motivation.|
|Leadership||1950s||Criticality of leader as pivotal to firm’s success of failure, traits could be identified.|
|Strategic Planning||1950s – 1960s||Plan, control, external environment critical.|
|Management by Objectives||1965||Individual Goals related to company goals.|
|Portfolio Management||1973||Boston Consulting Group; matrix of business products, cash cows, stars, dogs, and the like.|
|Matrix Management||1970s||Restructure reporting relationships to eliminate functional structures.|
|Quality Circles||1970s – 1980s||Monitor, workplace improvement.|
|Total Quality Manaement||1980s – 1990s||Customer focus, efficency, processes, quality.|
|Empowerment, Benchmarking, Reengineering||1990s||process, start-over, structure|
|Team-Based Work, Self-Managed-Teams||1980s – 1990s|
|Downsizing||1990s||Layoffs, called restructuring for efficency.|
|Learning in organizations||1990s||constant learning, how organizations learn new ways of doing things, share learning|
|Leadership||1980s – 1990s||Traits, charisma capable of being learned, individual pivotal to survival|
They also enumerate a handful of functions that a fad plays for those involved in it. It’s
interesting to contrast this with the list of drivers that give rise to standards, or the
the list of features of a destructive cult.
- Provide Identity to an Organization
- Serve to legitimate a firm, as firms tend to model each other’s behavior.
- Fads give managers, particularly those of short tenure, a tool to demonstrate activity.
- Provide a way for careers to advance and positions institutionalized.
- Create organizational culture (stories, scripts, shared understanding).
- Socialization – the fad’s rituals encourage work related social interaction.
- Legitimize decisions – responsiblity for the tough choices can be shared with the fad.