The widespread citation of management texts in academic journals implies that they are a significant influence on the diffusion and implementation of management concepts. This article applies a neo-institutional analysis to the use of two widely cited management texts in the diffusion of a management fashion: Reengineering Work (Harv. Bus. Rev. 68 (1990) 104) and Reengineering the Corporation (Reengineering the Corporation: a Manifesto for Business Revolution, HarperCollins, New York, 1993). It is seen that these texts do not prescribe a methodology for reengineering, but instead of being a weakness this "hollow core" creates a space for actors to reinterpret the concept while drawing on its symbolic force. The texts are kept in circulation by the need of academics to cite foundational texts and the symbolic value of foundational texts to legitimise management practices. The texts of Hammer have joined those of Proust, Joyce and Shakespeare in the canon of books that are regarded as significant, but that people do not feel the need to read.