The System of Management Ideas: Origins, Microfoundations, and Dynamics

26 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2017

See all articles by Michael Mol

Michael Mol

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Strategic Management and Globalization; University of Birmingham - Birmingham Business School

Nicolai Juul Foss

Bocconi University

Julian Birkinshaw

London Business School

Date Written: October 2, 2017

Abstract

We argue that there is a system of management ideas, that is, set of institutionalized high level heuristics that guide organizational and individual behaviours in managerial reality, involves distinct knowledge and transfers that knowledge across time and space, may change as a result of local adaptation or innovation, and may be selected for or against. This system operates at multiple levels, particularly the individual, organizational and institutional levels. A system of management ideas can be analyzed through a microfoundational approach, where actions of individual agents lead to an evolution of the system through processes of variation, selection and retention. We then specifically apply this approach to organizational level choices between adopting existing, fashionable management practices versus creating novel management practices. We present a process model depicting this make-or-buy choice in management practices and provide insights into why and when organizations may choose one of these routes over another one.

Keywords: evolutionary perspective, management fashion, management ideas, management innovation, management practices, system

JEL Classification: M10, M19, O30, O35

Suggested Citation

Mol, Michael and Foss, Nicolai Juul and Birkinshaw, Julian, The System of Management Ideas: Origins, Microfoundations, and Dynamics (October 2, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3046496 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3046496

Michael Mol (Contact Author)

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Strategic Management and Globalization ( email )

Porcelænshaven 24
Frederiksberg, 2000
Denmark

University of Birmingham - Birmingham Business School ( email )

Edgbaston Park Road
Birmingham, B15 2TY
United Kingdom

Nicolai Juul Foss

Bocconi University

Via Sarfatti, 25
Milan, MI 20136
Italy

Julian Birkinshaw

London Business School ( email )

Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London, London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom

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