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Management Fads in Higher Education: Where They Come From, What They Do, Why They Fail


reviewed by Dorothy Lander 2002

coverTitle: Management Fads in Higher Education: Where They Come From, What They Do, Why They Fail
Author(s): Robert Birnbaum
Publisher: Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco
ISBN: 0787944564, Pages: 287 , Year: 2000
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In the preface to Management Fads in Higher Education, Robert Birnbaum names his primary audience "as college and university trustees, presidents, and other managers who constantly find their institutions under pressure to become more efficient and effective, and for faculty who often oppose management innovations even if they are not quite sure why" (p. viii). Birnbaum names scholars and students of higher education as his secondary audience followed by scholars and managers in other not-for-profit organizations. I suggest a re-ordering of these categories of readers and raise the question whether a textbook is the best medium to catch the attention of his primary audience of practitioners and faculty. In any case, Birnbaum's convincing historical model of the transmission of fads to higher education and his engaging writing style reach out to all his readers. He makes an important contribution to our understanding of how institutions of higher learning take up management practices and innovations that began--and faded--in the private sector. Birnbaum identifies broad time lines for seven... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 104 Number 1, 2002, p. 58-63
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10752, Date Accessed: 12/11/2017 4:31:51 AM

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About the Author
  • Dorothy Lander
    St. Francis Xavier University
    E-mail Author
    Dorothy Lander is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Adult Education at St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia. She is author of several journal articles and book chapters on management in post-secondary education. Her current research draws on multiple methods of qualitative inquiry, including autobiography, to construct the lived experience of quality in the service university.
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