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Crossing the management fashion border: The adoption of business process reengineering services by management consultants offering total quality management services in the United States, 1992–2004

  • Dong-II Jung (a1) and Won-Hee Lee (a1)


Building on prior research on management fashion, this paper seeks to understand how management consultants respond to the boom-to-bust cycles of competing management fashion trends. Specifically, we examine how US management consulting firms offering total quality management (TQM) services responded to the rise and fall of the rival management practice, business process reengineering (BPR), with an empirical focus on the adoption of BPR services. We find that a consulting firm offering TQM services was more likely to adopt BPR services if the firm’s organizational capabilities and institutional environments were more connected to BPR’s principles than to TQM’s principles. This suggests that management fashions are not simply bandwagon phenomena, but involve resource- and identity-based decision making. We also find that the significance of organizational capabilities increased while that of network influences decreased as BPR’s boom turned to bust. The reversal of well-established institutional accounts of innovation diffusion is explained by reference to the characteristics of management fashion.

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