Research Dillettantism


Fred Phillips is looking into the effects of dilettantism on management research and seeks additional examples

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Dilettantism in Management Research

Fred Phillips is looking into the effects of dilettantism on management research, and seeks additional examples. The quintessential instance would be Harvard’s David Yoffie, who in his book about ‘judo strategy’ admits that he never took a judo lesson. Other business authors have attempted to bring to bear principles from ecology, shamanism, neurology, or complexity theory, etc. – without a background of serious study in these areas, and sometimes having just the briefest acquaintance with them.

Examples of a different sort might include experts on immunology or quantum physics, who with a sweep of the arm claim broad applicability of their work to business (having, of course, no training or experience in business).

Please email Fred [] if you know of documentable examples. Kindly include references, URLs, or keywords that will lead to sources. I’d also value your opinion on whether the example you cite was ridiculed, or fooled the gullible, or on the contrary was taken seriously by reputable management researchers, or even led to serious research by interdisciplinary teams.

Note that publications that are clearly labeled as opinion pieces, in which the author frankly labels the transfer of principles as "conjecture," cannot fairly be called dilettantism. This kind of publication will not be included in the study.