Re: Fadism (long) LO214

Jim Michmerhuizen (
Thu, 23 Feb 1995 14:21:18 +0001 (EST)

Your own remarks, quoted below, are pretty astute too. Clearly, the
transformation of useful practices into fads is one of civilization's
_MAJOR_ discontents. It's probably been with us that long. There's some
evidence in the New Testament that Christianity went through a couple of
cycles of "fadism" in the first couple of centuries.

One of the roots of this, I think, is a kind of magical thinking that no
kind of scepticism can erode or eradicate from our group behavior. Mr.
Sage, let us say, accomplishes marvels among some group of businesses; he
transforms them and their tribal cultures. The rest of us gather around
hoping to overhear _his_words_; if we can get _his_words_, we can hope,
perhaps, to take with them some of _his_power_. This is how the "fad"
stage begins: the words spread much faster, and with far less effort,
than the practice. And of course in the absence of concrete practice,
they immediately lose all their content.

This is actually a terrible paradox, almost self-contradictory. It
means, for example, that in order to stay fully in touch with reality we
have to be able to do an entire day's work without ever using the
accursed phrase "L_______ O___________".

There are more different kinds of people in the world than there are people...

On Wed, 15 Feb 1995 wrote in LO118:

> Reply to LO109
> Change Agents - Joe Kilbride's recent post on why TQM and the Learning
> Org. are seen as fads rather than transformations was one of the more
> astute descriptions of this problem that I have read. These approaches
> really are deep changes. Just read Deming again, it is a philosophy, not a
> quick fix. In my consulting experience, these approaches are seen as
> "parasites to existing SOPs" rather than as totally new SOPs.
> We are not a patient nation. Even in elementary school we are
> taught to learn new concepts in a limited time (semester) and if we don't,
> we are punished (with the silliness of grading). Yes, some adults can make
> the psychic transformation that is necessary (and it is not aged based,
> some literature shows that older workers are more amenable to change than
> younger workers). So my current thinking on these issues is one, are the
> personality constructs that make some people amenable to these
> transformations transferable to others? (I think much of "the problem" has
> to do with the dominance of authoritarian personality types in humans -
> which is a response to fear and insecurity), and (2) we probably should
> start in Kindergarten, if these are systemic changes then we need to start
> when institutional socialization into the larger "system" starts. Thank
> you, Mr. Kilbride.
> Doug Kiel
> Associate Professor of Government/Politics and Political Economy
> Director - Master of Public Affairs Program
> University of Texas at Dallas
> Richardson, TX 75083
> (214) 883-2019
> "You can tell the pioneers by the number of arrows in their backs"
> From: