fad surfing
(FAD sur.fing) pp. In business, adopting one fashionable management style after another. Also: fad-surfing.
fad surfer or fad-surfer n.

Example Citation:
Go into any large bookshop and take a long, hard look at the business/management section; see books there with titles such as Managing Without Management, Peanut Butter and Jelly Management and, flavour of the month at the moment, the simplistic parable Who Moved My Cheese? (by the author of The One-Minute Manager).

Academics have even coined the phrase "fad surfing" to describe the take-up and discarding of trends based on bestselling books. But is this burgeoning industry selling lasting solutions or are they the modern equivalent of the snake-oil salesman?
—Keith Austin, "Flavour Of The Month," Sydney Morning Herald, May 15, 2002

Earliest Citation:
Fad-Surfer or Catalyst?

To set off civil war among your friends, just start to talk about the care and control of consultants. Almost everybody has a happy tale or a horror story.

You've heard about teams of arrogant MBA's to came and charged $ 999,999.00 to comfort a nervous CEO with what he wanted to hear, while managers down the line buttoned their lips in rage. You've seen senior partners in the big consulting firms sell a deal to top management and then send in squads of overpriced juniors to waste everyone's time getting educated. Mainly, I'd guess, you've heard of buzzword gimmicks being pushed out where they don't fit.

"Too many consultants and clients end up fad-surfing together rather than working on the real problems," argues Eileen C. Shapiro, a consultant herself with Boston's Hillcrest Group, Inc.
—T. George Harris, "Fad-Surfers, Risk-Dodgers, and Beloved Companies," Harvard Business Review, January 1993 / February 1993

Notes:
This phrase seems to have been coined by consultant Eileen Shapiro. She wrote a book in 1995 called Fad Surfing in the Boardroom, and she's also the source of the phrase in the earliest citation.

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