The fad motif in management scholarship

David Collins*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


This paper offers a critical reappraisal of the nature and significance of guru theory. Noting that critical scholars of management have sought to dismiss guru theory as an insubstantial and ephemeral body of knowledge, dedicated to the production of fads, which are said to obscure the reality of management, the paper attempts to encourage academics and practitioners to reconsider the implications of the fad motif. Offering six objections to the fad motif in management scholarship, which variously discuss the realities of managerial toil and the nature of management scholarship, the paper argues that so-called faddish developments in management knowledge actually offer persuasive and substantial representations of reality. However, the paper concludes that while guru theory may be substantial, it is also flawed because it offers a self-privileging form of analysis, which obscures the many realities of organizing and managing, which might otherwise be subject to serious inquiry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-37
Number of pages12
JournalEmployee Relations
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2001
Externally publishedYes


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