A1 Journal article (refereed)
Reconciling conflicting predictions about transience and persistence of management concepts in management fashion theory and new institutionalism (2022)

Aksom, H. (2022). Reconciling conflicting predictions about transience and persistence of management concepts in management fashion theory and new institutionalism. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 30(2), 430-453. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijoa-10-2020-2445

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsAksom, Herman

Journal or seriesInternational Journal of Organizational Analysis



Publication year2022

Publication date09/04/2021


Issue number2

Pages range430-453


Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/83298


Although drawing from neoinstitutional theoretical apparatus and ontology, management fashion theory is understood as a theory that explains the transitory nature of popular ideas and practices while institutional theory explains their stabilization, persistence and further institutionalization. In a nutshell, it seems that being opposed to each other, these two theories describe and predict different, incommensurable diffusion trajectories and organizational behaviour patterns. The purpose of this paper is to unify these two competing perspectives.

This paper makes an attempt toward further unification of management fashion theory with new institutionalism by offering an alternative understanding and conceptualization of institutional change and deinstitutionalization and by distinguishing emerging concepts from already popular fashions.

Most emerging concepts never achieve popularity and disappear while few of them achieve massive media attention and diffuse widely becoming new management fashions. Once these concepts have achieved a wide popularity institutional forces would favor them and lead to further institutionalization. Institutional change is understood not as a deinstitutionalization of existing management fashion in terms of erosion, discontinuity or disappearance but as a decline in its media coverage while media attention focuses on new fashionable concept. The former management fashion gets institutionalized, institutional change occurs in terms of shifting attention toward new fashion and diffusion and institutionalization cycle restarts. Institutional prediction of isomorphism and institutionalization as irreversible tendencies thus can be unified with MF prediction about the bell-shaped curves in fashions’ popularity. Therefore, postulates and predictions of management fashion theory can be derived from new institutionalism and vice versa.

Practical implications
The paper aims to cover, generalize and explain different trajectories of various management and organizational concepts, deducing theoretical propositions from both institutional theory and management fashion theory. Theoretical and methodological ideas offered in this paper can be helpful in future research on management fashions and diffusion. Studies on the evolution of management concept can benefit from proposed categorization and causal relationships between different stages of the life cycle.

Unifying seemingly conflicting and disparate perspectives and views allows making organization theory more coherent in terms of both explanatory power and ontological commensurability. Following other mature sciences, we share the same notion of progress, namely, the aim of achieving unification and demonstrating that different organizational theories still describe the same reality.

Keywordsorganisational researchorganisational theoriesleadership (activity)institutionalismconcept analysis

Free keywordsmanagement fashion; institutional theory; management concepts; diffusion; institutionalization; isomorphism; media attention

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-25-02 at 20:56