Management Fads, Pedagogies and Soft Technologies

26 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2005

See all articles by Jonathan Bendor

Jonathan Bendor

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Bernardo A. Huberman


Fang Wu

HP Labs

Date Written: September 23, 2005


We present a model for the diffusion of management fads and other technologies which lack clear objective evidence about their merits. The choices made by non-Bayesian adopters reflect both their own evaluations and the social in°uence of their peers. We show, both analytically and computationally, that the dynamics lead to outcomes that appear to be deterministic in spite of being governed by a stochastic process. In other words, when the objective evidence about a technology is weak, the evolution of this process quickly settles down to a fraction of adopters that is not predetermined. When the objective evidence is strong, the proportion of adopters is determined by the quality of the evidence and the adopters'competence.

Keywords: management fads, herding, technology adoption

JEL Classification: D71

Suggested Citation

Bendor, Jonathan and Huberman, Bernardo A. and Wu, Fang, Management Fads, Pedagogies and Soft Technologies (September 23, 2005). Available at SSRN: or

Jonathan Bendor

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Bernardo A. Huberman (Contact Author)

CableLabs ( email )

400 W California Ave
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
United States

Fang Wu

HP Labs ( email )

Palo Alto, CA 94304
United States

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