Haute couture or pret-a-porter: Creating and diffusing management practices through the popular press
Alvarez, Jose L.
Management fads are increasingly a hot topic within Organization Theory. Recent articles have described the production process of fads, the role of «ideological» waves in explaining their emergence, and the development of management rhetoric supporting the fads. Despite this growing interest, management fads are seen as an outcome of the actions of Universities, business schools, and consulting firms in producing formal management knowledge; the role of the popular press, meanwhile, remains largely unexplored. Our paper aims to fill this gap by exploring the role of the popular press in producing and legitimating management fads. We argue that the popular press is a primary factor in diffusing and legitimating management fads. The popular press also represents a new laboratory for the construction of management practices. Being deeply rooted in the social context, magazines and newspapers link management practices with social acceptance, coupling management and society at large. We use both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to analyze the data. The data set consists of a collection of articles on Human Resource Management published during the last decade in leading newspapers and magazines in Italy. We suggest that the dynamics of the diffusion and popularization of management practices in Italy over the last decade represents a fair example of the processes that have taken place throughout the Western world.
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