>Bellwether by Connie Willis is a short satyrical novel that looks at fads, creativity, upper management, and the scientific method. It sounds like an unlikely combination but for anyone with any experience with research and development, or academia, will find it a fitting and hilarious match.
The inept office management by Flip brings together a statistician interested in the progression of fads (specifically the 1920s bob) and a chaos theorist interested in animal movements. They are but two researchers at a privately run think tank that is vying for a prestigious grant. The management style of the organization, though, is so poisonous, there's no hope of success.
As I have said before, I adore Willis's take on bureaucracy in research settings — whether academic (such as in her time travel books) or private. She has a biting humor that hits right to the core of how complex organizations can stifle the normal flow of things — and yet inspire creativity (as a survival mechanism).
I have been recommending Bellwether to all of my friends and family who do research.