University of Delaware sociologist Joel Best, author of Flavor Of The Month: Why Smart People Fall For Fads (University Of California Press), says people succumb to faddish behavior because it represents progress.
Thats fine as far as clothing or music, but its not so good when the fads become institutionalized, like back in the 1980s when multiple personality disorder was all the rage until fad-following doctors split for something new.
Treating a patient based on the latest fad is potentially dangerous; but Best says that the medical world does actually pay attention to scientific evidence.
Thats a far cry from the business world where trends like re-engineering or quality circles are adopted and discarded without rhyme, reason or proof they work.
Meanwhile, some fads do have staying power, such as the wristwatch, which has been around for 80 years despite being declared a fad in 1915.
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