The Gurus' Gusto: Management Fashion, Performance and Taste

R. ten Bos, H.S. Heusinkveld

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to assess the role of management gurus in a contemporary society.
Design/methodology/approach – To further understanding about the specific atmosphere favorable to the production and consumption of the guruesque ideas the paper draws on the work of Goffman and MacIntyre about the performance-like quality of organizational life.
Findings – It is argued that the management guru is well at home in a social world in which presentation is a central theme. Hence, we portray the guru not as the messenger who brings indisputable truths to the managerial masses, but as a person who succeeds in presenting him or herself as a “tastemaker”.
Research limitations/implications – The concept of tastemaker is still in need of more development and therefore this paper suggests three lines of further research.
Practical implications – This paper may help managers, as important consumers of guruesque ideas, to better understand the management guru phenomenon and to reflect on their value in daily praxis.
Originality/value – The paper provides more insight into the, albeit contested, role of (dis)taste, an issue that received scant attention in discussions about management fashion and guruism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-325
JournalJournal of Organizational Change Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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